Menglu Gao

Menglu Gao

Assistant Professor

What I do

Assistant Professor of Victorian Literature

Professional Biography

Menglu Gao researches and teaches nineteenth-century British and Anglophone literature, with research interests in medical humanities, empire studies, comparative literature, environmental humanities, and critical theory. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Literature and Medicine, Studies in the Novel, Undisciplining the Victorian Classroom, George Eliot—George Henry Lewes Studies, and Routledge Handbook to Global Literature and Culture of the Romantic Period. Her current book project, Addictive Forms: Opium, Physiology, and the Stimulable Empire in the Nineteenth Century, examines how medical theories relevant to opium use and addiction provided new ways for nineteenth-century authors to conceptualize and critique imperial forms in a global society, especially in the context of Britain’s clash with the declining Chinese empire. It reveals for the first time that addiction didn’t solely serve as imperial expansion’s consequence or tool acting on individual bodies, but rather as a method of imagining the structure of empire.


  • Ph.D., Comparative Literary Studies (Home Department: English), Northwestern University, 2021


  • Faculty Internationalization Grant, University of Denver
  • Rosenberry Fund Grant for “Making Our Work Public”, College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CAHSS), University of Denver
  • Outstanding PhD Thesis Award, Society for Global Nineteenth-Century Studies
  • Faculty Research Fund, University of Denver
  • Walter L. Arnstein Prize for Dissertation Research in Victorian Studies, Midwest Victorian Studies Association