Zihan Guo

Chinese Literature
2nd Year Student

M.A. in East Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Pennsylvania

B.A. in Comparative Literature, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Zihan Guo 郭子菡 is a Ph.D. student in premodern Chinese literature, with a special interest in the relation between poetry and the past in the Middle Period Chinese history.

Her MA thesis at Penn focuses on the polysemous word "taste" as a sensory experience and an aesthetic criterion in the Song dynasty (960-1279), where the literati taste elevated enduring blandness over transient lusciousness, philosophical profundity over lush rhetoric. At Princeton, she continues to explore how reading became a synesthetic experience that simulated both the intellect and the senses and how writers grounded their literary practices in corporeal sensations, highlighting individual and intuitive responses. She inquires also into how physiology and materiality came to be embedded in the literary and philosophical expressions in different cultures. 

She maintains abiding interests in medical history, history of emotion, representations of natural landscape, and the interplay between words and images in the premodern world.