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/ Comparative literature – Department of Literatures and Languages of the World

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Heather Meek


Professeure agrégée

Faculté des arts et des sciences - Département de littératures et de langues du monde

Pavillon Lionel-Groulx office C8118

514 343-6239


  • Membre – CELCP — Centre de recherche des études littéraires et culturelles sur la planétarité

Areas of Expertise

Heather Meek's work explores the intersections of literary and medical cultures in the long eighteenth century, with a particular focus on texts authored by women and physicians. Her publications include investigations of Frances Burney’s early nineteenth-century mastectomy narrative (in Literature and Medicine, 2017); Samuel Richardson’s relationship to the medical milieu of his time (in Samuel Richardson in Context, Cambridge UP, 2017); medical discourse and the origins of the novel (in Literature and Medicine: The Eighteenth Century, Cambridge UP, 2021); eighteenth-century vocabularies of illness (in BMJ: Medical Humanities, 2022); and representations of blood and bloodletting (in Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, 2023). Her monograph, Reimagining Illness: Women Writers and Medicine in Eighteenth-Century Britain (McGill-Queen’s University Press), appeared in November 2023. With Heike Härting, she is currently completing an edited collection, Planetary Health Humanities and Pandemics (Routledge), that will appear in March 2024.

Student supervision Expand all Collapse all

“[O]ur virtues and our vices depend too much on our circumstances” : prostitution as power in John Cleland’s Memoirs of a woman of pleasure Thèses et mémoires dirigés / 2023 - 2023
Graduate : Albouchi, Asma
Cycle : Master's
Grade : M.A.
Race, mimicry, ambivalence, and third space in The woman of colour : a tale (1808) Thèses et mémoires dirigés / 2022 - 2022
Graduate : Jafarzadeh, Nikrouz
Cycle : Master's
Grade : M. Sc.
The "Effect of Education" on kinship ties in Jane Austen's Mansfield Park Thèses et mémoires dirigés / 2021 - 2021
Graduate : Brousseau, Roxanne
Cycle : Master's
Grade : M.A.
Why Say No? : Marriage Proposal Rejections in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre Thèses et mémoires dirigés / 2020 - 2020
Graduate : Agharazi, Hoda
Cycle : Master's
Grade : M.A.
The Effect of Collective Psychology on the Mistreatment of Nineteenth-Century Women in Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre and Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" Thèses et mémoires dirigés / 2019 - 2019
Graduate : Pallotta, Jessica
Cycle : Master's
Grade : M.A.
Women’s Food Refusal and Feminine Appetites in the long British Eighteenth Century Thèses et mémoires dirigés / 2018 - 2018
Graduate : Hamel, Jessica Lynn
Cycle : Doctoral
Grade : Ph. D.

Research projects Expand all Collapse all

Les études culturelles et littéraires sur La planétarité: Pratiques, épistémologies, et pédagogies transformatrices Projet de recherche au Canada / 2020 - 2025

Lead researcher : Heike Harting
Co-researchers : Simon Harel , Heather Meek , Catherine Mavrikakis , Yves-Marie Abraham , Karoline Truchon , Domenico Beneventi , Catherine Leclerc , Monica Popescu , Yasmin Jiwani , Isaac Bazié , Raphael Canet
Funding sources: FRQSC/Fonds de recherche du Québec - Société et culture (FQRSC)
Grant programs: PVXXXXXX-(SE) Programme Soutien aux équipes de recherche - Stade de développement : Nouvelle équipe

Re-Imagining Illness: The British Woman Writer's Medical Knowledge, 1660-1820 Projet de recherche au Canada / 2019 - 2025

Lead researcher : Heather Meek
Funding sources: CRSH/Conseil de recherches en sciences humaines du Canada
Grant programs: PVXXXXXX-Subvention Savoir

Petticoat Doctors and their Pens: The Medical Knowledge of Eighteenth-Century Women Writers Projet de recherche au Canada / 2018 - 2021

Lead researcher : Heather Meek
Funding sources: CRSH/Conseil de recherches en sciences humaines du Canada
Grant programs: PVX20020-Subvention institutionnelle du CRSH - Subventions d'exploration


Lead researcher : Heather Meek
Funding sources: FRQSC/Fonds de recherche du Québec - Société et culture (FQRSC)
Grant programs: PV113813-(NP) Soutien à la recherche pour la relève professorale

Publications Expand all Collapse all


  • Reimagining Illness: Women Writers and Medicine in Eighteenth-Century Britain. Montreal; Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2023.
  • Planetary Health Humanities and Pandemics (co-edited with Heike Härting). New York: Routledge, 2024 (forthcoming). 

Articles de revue

  • “‘Meanders of [the] Purple Flood’: Blood and Bloodletting in Eighteenth-Century Literature and Medicine.” Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies (JECS) 46.1 (2023): 41-57. doi:
  • “A ‘prodigious latitude’ of Words: Vocabularies of Illness in 18th-Century Medical Treatises and Women’s Writing.” BMJ: Medical Humanities 48.2 (2022): 253-60. doi: 10.1136/medhum-2020-012133
  • “Frances Burney’s Mastectomy Narrative and Discourses of Breast Cancer in the Long Eighteenth Century.” Literature and Medicine 35.1 (Spring 2017): 27-45. doi: 10.1353/lm.2017.0001
  • “Medical Men, Women of Letters, and Treatments for Eighteenth-Century Hysteria.” Journal of Medical Humanities 34.1 (March 2013): 1-14.
  • “Creative Hysteria and the Intellectual Woman of Feeling.” Figures et culture de la dépression (1660-1800)/The Representation and Culture of Depression (1660-1800). Vol. 1. Spec. issue of Le Spectateur européen/The European Spectator: 10 (2010): 87-98.
  • “Of Wandering Wombs and Wrongs of Women: Evolving Conceptions of Hysteria in the Age of Reason.” English Studies in Canada 35.2-3 (June/September 2009): 105-28.

Chapitres de livres

  • “Jane Barker, Medical Discourse, and the Rise of the Novel.” Literature and Medicine: The Eighteenth Century. Volume 1. Ed. Clark Lawlor and Andrew Mangham. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021. 51-69. doi:
  • “Medicine and Health.” Samuel Richardson in Context. Ed. Peter Sabor and Betty Schellenberg. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017. 264-71. doi:
  • “‘[F]ictitious [D]istress’ or Veritable Woe?: The Problem of Eighteenth-Century Ennui.” Disease and Death in Eighteenth-Century Literature and Culture: Fashioning the Unfashionable. Ed. Allan Ingram and Leigh Wetherall-Dickson. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2017. 13-31. doi:
  • “Motherhood, Hysteria, and the Eighteenth-Century Woman Writer.” The Secrets of Generation: Reproduction in the Long Eighteenth Century. Ed. Raymond Stephanson and Darren Wagner. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2015. 238-57. 
  • “‘[W]hat fatigues we fine ladies are fated to endure’: Sociosomatic Hysteria as a Female ‘English Malady.’” Diseases of the Imagination and Imaginary Disease in the Early Modern Period. Ed. Yasmin Haskell. Early European Research 1200-1650 Series. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols Publishing, 2011. 375-96.

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