Eileen Yiran Zhao

Thesis title: Time in the Literary Constructions of Self, Love, and Fate in Dream of the Red Chamber


Yiran Zhao is currently a fourth-year PhD candidate in Chinese Studies at the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures, fully funded by CSC (China Scholarships Council).

Before working on her PhD in Edinburgh, she studied at Beijing Normal University, China, where she obtained her Master’s degree in Chinese Modern and Contemporary Literature and Bachelor’s degree in Chinese Language and Literature, both with first-class honours.

During her degrees, she was a teaching assistant at BNU  and an exchange student at Fu Jen Catholic University. 


MA(Hons) in Chinese Modern and Contemporary Literature (2017), Beijing Normal University.

BA (Hons) in Chinese Language and Literature (2014), Beijing Normal University.

Responsibilities & affiliations



Undergraduate teaching

Society and Culture in Pre-modern East Asia

Areas of interest for supervision



Research summary

My fields of interest include 20th-century Chinese literature, vernacular fiction of the Ming and Qing dynasties,  Specifically in Chinese narrative and its aesthetics and philosophical expression in the literary text.

Current research interests

I am currently working on the representation of temporal experience in late imperial Chinese narratives, focusing on the questions of how the literary treatment of time intervenes in the thematic, psychological and metaphorical sphere of the narrativity.

Past research interests

I have worked on four special topics: Forms of Time in the Red Classics, The South Horizont in The Book of Songs, Urban Writing in Chinese Contemporary Literature and Genealogy of Character Images in Chinese Contemporary Literature.

Invited speaker

 2018: BPCS Conference on "Hetero/Homogeneous China", University of Oxford, 21-22 June: "The Forms of Time and the Temporal Aesthetics in Honglou meng"

2019: BAME Doctoral Researchers Event, The British Library, London, 8 July: "The Rhetoric of Time in Scholar-Beauty Romance of Late Imperial China​" 

2021: the 1st Young Scholars Forum on Literature and Communication, Research Center for Overseas Communication of Chinese Literature,  Beijing Normal University, online, 5 May: “Experience of Love and the Rhetoric of Time in Chinese literature”

2021: The 23rd biennial conference of the European Association for Chinese Studies (EACS), Leipzig University& online, 24- 27 August, “Sick Body, Temporal Experience, and the Literary Self in Honglou meng” 

2021: the 15th Annual Conference on Asian Studies (ACAS), Palacký University Olomouc& online, 26-27 November, “Being in Love: Romantic Relationship and the Form of Time in Honglou meng”