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Law & Literature: Home

Subjects: Criminology, English, Law

Purpose of this guide

This guide is intended for students and researchers studying law and literature at the University of Oxford, although students and researchers from any field may find it useful.

Use this guide to find out about books and online resources for law and literature, including ebooks, ejournals, bibliographic databases.

Law & Literature quick start

Law and Literature Overview

  • There is no single place in the Law Library for this multidisciplinary subject, but most likely places to look are in Jurisprudence/KA and General/KB shelr marks in the Bodleian Law Library.
  • Other resources will be in other libraries, such as the English Faculty Library, and the Bodleian Philosophy and Theology Faculty Library.

Many different scholars mean many different things by the term 'law and literature'. This Law Bod Guide divides them into different areas for convenience.

Law and literature is an interdisciplinary subject that has grown since the 1960s and 70s and uses both legal studies and literary studies to explore the boundaries and shared ground of both subjects. Its origins are mostly in America, but a separate field of European law-and-literature studies, drawing on poststructuralist and postmodern traditions, has also developed. Some of the key debates - such as rhetoric v. reason - are ancient philosophical debates.

  • 'Law and Literature - an interdisciplinary study' deals with the key texts in this field, which can overlap, however, with most of the other sections.
  • 'Law in literaturedeals with the more literal understanding of lawyers and legal concepts in fiction.
  • 'Crime fiction'  
  • 'Literature in law', conversely, covers the area where literature comes into contact with the law, in famous literary trials and censorship battles or in copyright law and the rights of authors.
  • 'Law as literature' returns to the interdisciplinary subject of law-and-literature, specifically covering areas such as critical legal studies, where law is seen as a social/political/narratological enterprise, and utilises literary criticism in investigating the law.
  • 'Law, language, and other intersections' deals with specifically language-related explorations in law, as well as social and cultural criticism. This reflects the broadening of the interdisciplinary subject from 'law and literature' to 'law and the humanities'.


SOLO is the portal for searching all resources e.g books, journals and databases that are accessible through the University. All the collections held or purchased by each of the Bodleian libraries are included in SOLO. When you have found a result on SOLO for an item you wish to read, do make sure you note not just the shelfmark  but also the location, or name of the library which holds it!

Outline of Bodleian Law Library collections.

Level 2 is the level at which you enter the library. Here you will find books with shelf marks beginning General, Jurisprudence, Legal Hist and K to KZ. Also the Enquiry Desk - always feel very welcome to come to the Enquiry Desk if are having any difficulties using the library.

Level 3 is one floor above the entrance level. Here you will find books with shelf marks beginning Euro Comm, Internat, Private Int or the name of country of Europe eg France.

Level 1 is one floor below the entrance level. Here you will find books with shelf marks beginning with  the name of country eg China, South Africa etc.


Related Bodleian guides