Dora Zhang in outside environment

Research Expertise and Interest

narrative & the novel, 20th and 21st century Britain, 20th and 21st century U.S., Asian American literature, affect theory, critical theory, philosophy and literature

Research Description

Jointly appointed in the Department of English and the Department of Comparative Literature, my research interests focus on Anglo-American and European modernist fiction, literature and philosophy, novel theory, aesthetics, affect theory, and visual culture. More recently, my worked has turned to contemporary literature, especially Asian American and Chinese diasporic fiction.

My first book, Strange Likeness: Description and the Modernist Novel, appeared in 2020 from the University of Chicago Press as part of the "Thinking Literature" series. It turns to some experiments of modernist form in order to reinvigorate our thinking about the ubiquitous but still under-theorized category of novelistic description. I have also written on topics including the role of the detail in works that withhold key information about their protagonists, Proust and photography, Woolf and the philosophy of language, the role of atmospheres in everyday life, and Roland Barthes's travels in China. Current projects include editing a new edition of A Room of One's Own for the Norton Library, and a new book project on the promises and perils of being a type in contemporary fiction.


Ph.D., Comparative Literature, Princeton University

B.A., philosophy, University of Toronto.  

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