- DePaul University
- Associate Professor of English
- Faculty Fellow (2023-2024)
- Resilient Books: Archival Science in an Age of Precarity
Megan Heffernan is Associate Professor of English at DePaul University. She specializes in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English literature, with particular interests in the material and cultural histories of the book; poetry and poetics; Shakespeare; and premodern theories of aesthetic style, value, and periodization.
Her research project, “Resilient Books: Archival Science in an Age of Precarity,” is the first literary history of caring for early modern English print. Reveling in the unlikely persistence of materials that should have vanished long ago, “Resilient Books” is both a scholarly history and a work of advocacy for the role that libraries play in sustaining imaginative writing. It explores how practices of preservation and conservation have enabled the endurance of printed books confronted with the ravages of time in an increasingly precarious world. She is currently editing Shakespeare’s Poems for Cambridge and building an online database of printed waste with Anna Reynolds (Sheffield) and Adam Smyth (Oxford).
Heffernan is the author of Making the Miscellany: Poetry, Print, and the History of the Book in Early Modern England (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2021), as well as essays in Shakespeare Quarterly, Modern Language Quarterly, Huntington Library Quarterly, and multiple edited collections. Her research has been supported by the Folger Shakespeare Library, Oxford’s Bodleian Library, the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas, and the Newberry Library.