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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 – RéQEF — Réseau québécois en études féministes
  • Membre – CELCP — Centre de recherche des études littéraires et culturelles sur la planétarité

Education Programs

  • Literature and Languages
  • Literature and Languages
  • Literature and Languages
  • Literature and Languages


  • ANG1032 Survey of British Literature, 1650-1900

Areas of Expertise

Heather Meek’s research interests include women’s writing, medical treatises, and the intersections of literature and medicine. Much of her published work looks at the subject of eighteenth-century hysteria by examining contemporaneous medical texts and first-hand accounts by women writers who themselves suffered from the condition. She has written on the ways that hysteria is at once a veritable illness, an elusive cultural condition, an intellectual affliction, and a vehicle for feminist thought. Her current project, funded by a SSHRC Insight grant (2019-2023), explores the medical knowledge of a group of eighteenth-century women writers and considers medical and literary understandings of conditions ranging from melancholy, hysteria, and madness; to chlorosis, pregnancy, and childhood illness; to smallpox, consumption, and breast cancer.

Student supervision Expand all Collapse all

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 - 2024

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

Publications principales

  • “‘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
  • “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.
  • “Medicine and Health.” Samuel Richardson in Context. Ed. Peter Sabor and Betty Schellenberg. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017. 264-71.
  • “‘[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.
  • “Frances Burney’s Mastectomy Narrative and Discourses of Breast Cancer in the Long Eighteenth Century.” Literature and Medicine 35.1 (Spring 2017): 27-45.
  • “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. 
  • “An ‘imperfect’ Model of Authorship in Dorothy Wordsworth’s Grasmere Journal.” Authorship 4.2 (Fall 2015): 1-13.
  • “Medical Men, Women of Letters, and Treatments for Eighteenth-Century Hysteria.” Journal of Medical Humanities 34.1 (March 2013): 1-14.
  • “‘[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.
  • “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.
  • “Medical Women and Hysterical Doctors: Interpreting Hysteria’s Symptoms.” The English Malady: Enabling and Disabling Fictions. Ed. Glen Colburn. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2008. 223-47.

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