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.

Academic Appointments

  • Lecturer, Writing and Rhetoric Studies

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations

  • Co-coordinator of the Working Group on the Novel, Center for the Study of the Novel, Stanford University (2010 - 2012)

Professional Education

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

Service, Volunteer and Community Work

  • Events and Activities Committee, Program in Writing and Rhetoric, Stanford University (8/2015 - 6/2016)


    Stanford, CA

  • Team-teaching at the Dickens Universe, University of Santa Cruz (August 2012)

    Team-taught a discussion group of Charles Dickens's Bleak House, for a class composed of members of the public.


    Santa Cruz, CA

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

Visual and literary culture of nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century Britain
Decoration, its history and rhetoric
Color theory across disciplines (optics, chemistry, art, literature, music)
Queer theory
Digital humanities and data-driven literary criticism
The history of science
Literary Decadence


  • Ornamental Form in the Victorian Novel

    My book project considers the many and varied ways decorative art contributed to the form and representational logic Victorian and modernist novels -- from George Eliot's Middlemarch and Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure, to Algernon Charles Swinburne's Lesbia Brandon and D.H. Lawrence's The Rainbow.


    Stanford, CA

  • Looking Was Not Enough: Jeffrey Eugenides's Middlesex

    A critical companion to Middlesex (2002) tracing canonical and less-than-canonical predecessors that infuse Jeffrey Eugenides’s theorization and rendering of the unconventional body.


    Stanford, CA

  • Queer Environmentalities: A Colloquy

    Hosted by Arcade, A Digital Salon, this curated collection of recent critical work brings together approaches in ecocriticism and queer studies, in literary criticism spanning periods from the early modern to the contemporary, and across disciplines including women’s studies, urban studies, discard studies, animal studies, posthumanism, postcolonial studies, and the history of science.


    Stanford, CA

  • The Colors of the Novel, Stanford University

    A study of the relationship between color vocabulary and sentence complexity, in a large corpus of nineteenth-century novels. Do different types of color terms induce distinct sentence structures? Do primary colors like red, blue, or green correlate with simpler sentence types, and tertiary and graded colors like mauve, chartreuse, or ochre with periodic, multi-clause sentences? Might patterns of color term usage distinguish different genres of the novel, or even individual authors? Might writers communicate questions of politics and sexuality with the stroke of a particular color word, or cluster of color words? These core questions drive a research project that combines computational approaches in the digital humanities with close readings. By comparing color’s textual life across genres, I hope to reveal the efforts of Victorians in many fields to find metaphors and analogies via which to connect projects that, on their surfaces, seem disparate, from aesthetic theory or comparative linguistics, to journalism.


    Stanford, CA

All Publications

  • Passionate Pleasure and Fearful Mastery: Michael Field’s Sapphos and Da Vincis Victorians: A Journal of Culture and Literature Yamboliev, I. 2023; 144: 186-204

    View details for DOI 10.1353/vct.2023.a913515

  • Vernon Lee's Novel Construction NINETEENTH-CENTURY LITERATURE Yamboliev, I. 2020; 75 (3): 346-371
  • Christopher Dresser, Physiological Ornamentist BRANCH: Britain, Representation and Nineteenth-Century History. Ed. Dino Franco Felluga. Extension of Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net. Yamboliev, I. 2020
  • D.H. Lawrence's Stained-Glass Prose Twentieth Century Literature Yamboliev, I. I. 2019; 65 (3)
  • Late Victorian into Modern (Book Review) JOURNAL OF VICTORIAN CULTURE Book Review Authored by: Yamboliev, I. 2018; 23 (4): 570–73
  • Food in the Novels of Thomas Hardy: Production and Consumption (Book Review) VICTORIAN STUDIES Book Review Authored by: Yamboliev, I. 2018; 60 (3): 472–74
  • The Outward Mind: Materialist Aesthetics in Victorian Science and Literature (Book Review) NINETEENTH-CENTURY CONTEXTS-AN INTERDISCIPLINARY JOURNAL Book Review Authored by: Yamboliev, I. 2018; 40 (2): 203–5
  • A.C. Swinburne's Sea-Prose and the Anti-Novel Victorian Literature and Culture Yamboliev, I. 2016
  • Review of Gerald Stern's Stealing History (2012) Mantis: A Journal of Poetry, Criticism & Translation Yamboliev, I. 2013; 11: 149-51
  • Style at the Scale of the Sentence n + 1 Allison, S., Gemma, M., Heuser, R., Moretti, F., Tevel, A., Yamboliev, I. 2013: 109-68