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Appointment-Based Writing Tutor

Irena Yamboliev

PhD, Stanford University, English January (2015)
BA, University of Nevada, Reno, English (2006)
BS, University of Nevada, Reno, Biology (2006)


I work on ornament and forms—literary but also visual—and focus especially on writers’ metaphors for inter-arts relations, their syntactic encodings of color and texture, and the balances of stylistic elaboration and emplotment they negotiate. My work includes studying the adjective as a compositional unit, and I am developing methods to quantify the “visual” in literature, and to record and describe readers’ subjective experiences of interactions between a text and visual art.

My book manuscript, Ornamental Form in the Victorian Novel, reads writers’ experiments in using decorative arts as formal models for their prose styles, in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In converting visual patterns into idiosyncratic syntaxes, I argue, novelists revolted against the “realistic” prioritizing of morally coherent plot and personalized character, favoring stylistic embellishments that were specially mimetic: embellishments that capture the “microplots” (Garrett Stewart’s term) of moment-to-moment perception being rendered in language.

I also work on how literary texts help us think of environmental relations, in their similarities and their differences from human relationships. I am the curator of the Colloquy "Queer Environmentalities," hosted through the Arcade salon. My short work Looking Was Not Enough, a critical companion to Jeffrey Eugenides's Middlesex, is forthcoming from Fiction Advocate.

At Stanford, I teach writing and literature. I have designed courses that focus on language's power in shaping figures in our culture (the scientist, the detective), genres (travel writing, the coming-of-age story), metaphors for investigation (detection), and topics that are our most intimate, yet also thoroughly public, such as love and gender.

Areas of specialization: literature and science

Genre expertise: Literary essays, scientific journal articles, abstracts, conference papers, poster presentations, personal essay, public criticism, writing about visual art, dissertations

Enjoys coaching brainstorming, organization, revision strategies, oral presentation


Office Hours

Tuesday and Thursday 10:30am-12:00pm PACIFIC

Research Interests

SPECIALIZATION: Literature and Culture of 19th- and 20th-Century Britain; Aesthetics; Narrative Theory; Science and its Rhetoric; Color Theory; Digital Humanities; Writing Pedagogy; Queer Theory