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Law & Literature: Home

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 and General.
  • Some resources will be in other libraries, such as the English Faculty Library, Philosophy and Theology Faculty Library and the Bodleian 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 literature' deals with the more literal understanding of lawyers and legal concepts in 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. When looking for a book or journal on SOLO, make sure you note the shelfmark and the location.

The Law Bod is undergoing a major reclassification project, moving from an in-house classification scheme to Moys, which is a Libray of Congress style classification for law libraries.

Always ask staff if you're not sure where to locate a particular book.

If you find a book you want to use for research that is not held in Oxford you have two options:

  1. Request an interlibrary loan. Many items, including journal articles and theses, can be requested from the British Library or other libraries nationally and internationally.
  2. Suggest it for purchase. Subject consultants are always happy to consider suggestions for purchase. Please give as much detail as possible when making a request.

Related Bodleian guides