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Meek, Heather

Professeure agrégée

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Meek, Heather


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.

Champs d'expertise

Publications principales

  • “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. 
  • “Frances Burney’s Mastectomy Narrative and Discourses of Breast Cancer in the Long Eighteenth Century.” Literature and Medicine 35.1 (Spring 2017).
  • “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).
  • “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.

Cours donnés au département ce trimestre

Thèses et mémoires dirigés au département et disponibles dans Papyrus