Berkeley English Faculty

Dora Zhang

Dora Zhang

Associate Professor

Wheeler Hall, room 442
T/Th 3.45pm - 4.45pm

Professional Statement

My research interests focus on Anglo-American and European modernist fiction, literature and philosophy, novel theory, affect theory, visual culture, aesthetics, and, more recently, ecocriticism. I received my Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Princeton University and my B.A. in philosophy from the University of Toronto. At Berkeley I hold a joint appointment in the departments of English and Comparative Literature.

My first book, Strange Likeness: Description and the Modernist Novel, is forthcoming in 2020 from the University of Chicago Press, as part of the "Thinking Literature" series. I have also written on topics including Proust and photography, Woolf and the philosophy of language, the role of atmospheres in everyday life, and Roland Barthes's travels in China. My work has appeared in RepresentationsNew Literary History (where my article "Naming the Indescribable" won the 2013 Ralph Cohen Prize), Modernism/modernity Print Plus, and Qui Parle, as well as Public Books, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. At the heart of my work is an abiding concern with histories of aesthetic forms and the roles these play in broader histories of knowledge.

Selected Publications and Papers Delivered

Strange Likeness: Description and the Modernist Novel (University of Chicago Press, 2020).

"Stream of Consciousness," Oxford Handbook of Virginia Woolf (Oxford University Press, forthcoming).

"Notes on Atmosphere," Qui Parle 27:1 (2018), 121 - 155. 

"Modernist Setting," co-authored introduction to cluster on "Setting" co-edited with Hannah Freed-Thall, Modernism/modernity Print Plus, March 2018

"Naming the Indescribable: James, Russell, Woolf and the Limits of Description," New Literary History 45.1 (Winter 2014), 51-70. Winner of the 2013 Ralph Cohen Prize.

"A Lens for an Eye: Photography and Proust," Representations 118 (Spring 2012), 103-125.

Public Writing

"Always Already Translated" Public Books, August 2016

"Love, Loot, and Lit" The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 2015

"Melancholy Surprise: Marcel Proust's Collected Poems" Los Angeles Review of Books, July 2013

"The Sideways Gaze: Roland Barthes's Travels in China" Los Angeles Review of Books, June 2012 (translated into German and reprinted in Merkur)

"Small Talk" The Point, 2012 (translated into French and reprinted in Nouveau Projet)

Recent English Courses Taught
spring, 2020


Graduate Readings: Modernist Fiction and Affect

fall, 2019


Literature and Philosophy

spring, 2018


Literature in English: Mid-19th Through the 20th Century

45C/101 -- discussion section

Eisenberg, Emma C.

45C/102 -- discussion section

Su, Amanda Jennifer

45C/103 -- discussion section

Cohan, Nathan

45C/104 -- discussion section

Cohan, Nathan

45C/105 -- discussion section

Mittnacht, Veronica Vizuet

45C/106 -- discussion section

Su, Amanda Jennifer

45C/107 -- discussion section

Eisenberg, Emma C.

45C/108 -- discussion section

Mittnacht, Veronica Vizuet