Dora Zhang

Associate Professor
442 Wheeler
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Research Areas


My research interests have focused on Anglo-American and European modernist fiction, literature and philosophy, novel theory, affect theory, visual culture, and aesthetics. More recently, my worked has also turned to contemporary literature, especially Asian American and Asian diasporic literature.

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 - by James, Proust, and, most centrally, Woolf - in order to reinvigorate our thinking about the ubiquitous but still under-theoreized category of novelistic description. I have also written on topics including the role of atmospheres in everyday life, Roland Barthes's travels in China, and the role of the detail in fictions that withhold some piece of social information, such as a character's gender or race.

My new book project is on the promises and perils of being a type in contemporary (largely U.S.) fiction. I am also editing a new annotated edition of Woolf's A Room of One’s Own, with an introduction, for the Norton Library.


Ph.D., Comparative Literature, Princeton University 

B.A., Philosophy, University of Toronto.