Xinxin Zhao

Eröffnung des Verfahrens: 31. Januar 2019

DIssertationskolloquium: 7. Juni 2019



  • 2003-2006: Dozentin am Englischen Seminar der Kunmming University of Science and Technology, Yunnan, China
  • 2006-2008: Master-Studium am Englischen Seminar der Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, Guangdong, China (Abschluss mit Auszeichnung)
  • 2008-2014: Dozentin am Englischen Seminar der Kunming University of Science and Technology, Yunnan, China
  • 2014-2016: Sprachlehrerin an der Blekinge Tekniska Högskola (Blekinge Institute of Technology) in Karlskrona, Schweden
  • Seit Februar 2016: Doktorandin und wissenschaftliche Angestellte beim GRK 1808 Ambiguität – Produktion und Rezeption an der Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen



  • Ikonizität
  • Erzähltexte der Moderne (besonders Romane, die ein Bewusstsein der eigenen Form zum Ausdruck bringen)
  • Literary linguistics / Stylistics
  • Ambiguität



"Form is meaning: An iconic reading of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness." (Arbeitstitel)

As one of most intensely studied literary work, Heart of Darkness (HD for short) has been inviting diversified and even contradictory readings for more than one hundred years. This research is initiated and motivated by the question: “why can the same work arouse so many conflicting readings?” Instead of digging out what it means, this research will focus on how it means. HD is a self-referential tale told by self-conscious story-tellers. Conrad’s skepticism in language’s expressiveness and in ascertainable truths makes HD an ideal case for iconicity and ambiguity study. Through iconicity, the elusive, invisible meaning is surfaced by visible, formal patterns and strategies on every level of literary language, from punctuation to lexicon, from syntax to narrative structure. With ambiguity, the contradictory opposites can both be true at the same time, the known and the unknown, the presence and the absence, the self-constitution and the self-cancellation. The two tentative goals this research tries to achieve are: one, a detailed and systematic formal description and textual analysis could be meaningful enough be to an independent reading, because HD is visual but not revealing anything other than itself; two, any side-choosing could lead to a misreading of this work, because the inherent ambiguity calls for a choice, yet makes the choice impossible.





  • Zhao, Xinxin (2020). “Heart without ‘THE’: An iconic reading of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.” Operationalizing Iconicity (Iconicity in Literature and Language 17). Eds. Pamela Perniss, Olga Fischer & Christina Ljungberg. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi: https://doi.org/10.1075/ill.17.11zho
  • Zhao, Xinxin (2019). “Striving for Something with/without Substance.” L'Époque Conradienne 42. Limoges: Presses universitaires de Limoges.
  • Zhao, Xinxin (2011). “How iconicity works in construction the fictional world view in Farewell to Arms.” Semblance and Signification. Eds. Pascal Michelucci, Olga Fischer & Christina Ljungberg. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 211-32.


  • Zhao, Xinxin (2011). “R.K. Narayan’s ‘The Doctor’s Words’ and ‘Selvi’” Master 114. 184-90.
  • Zhao, Xinxin (2009). “Arundhati Roy’s ‘The Greater Common Good.’” Master 94. 35-49.



  • 2008-2014 (an der Kunming University of Science and Technology, Yunnan, China):
    • Vorlesung zum Thema „Intensive reading“
    • Workshops zur Übersetzung Englisch/Chinesisch
  • 2014-2016 (an der Blekinge Tekniska Högskola in Karlskrona, Schweden):
    • Sprachkurse (mit Präsenz- und Onlinephasen) „Chinesisch I“, „Chinesisch II“ und „Grundkurs Chinesisch“