Circulating Texts in Law and Literature

Lecture by Prof. Marco Wan (Professor of Law and Director of the Law and Literary Studies Programme, University of Hong Kong).

Part of the Critical Times workshop on Movement(s) and the laboratorium lucernaiuris lecture series.

Datum: 7. Juni 2023
Zeit: 17.45 Uhr bis 19.00 Uhr
Ort: Room 4.A05

What might it mean to think about the interdiscipline of Law and Literature in an expanded, global frame? In this lecture, I posit one answer to this question by drawing on the notion of ‘circulation’ from the debates about world literature. I will begin with a survey of recent developments in Law and Literature, and then examine questions of reception, interpretation, and translation raised by the ways in which literary texts circulate into new legal-cultural environments. My discussion will be anchored in a close reading of Dai Sijie’s Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (2000), a novel about two teenage boys who are sent to the mountains for re-education through labour during the Cultural Revolution in China, and who discover a suitcase of forbidden Western classics.

Marco Wan is Professor of Law at the University of Hong Kong, where he directs the programme in Law and Literary Studies. He has published widely on law and the humanities, especially law and literature and law and visual culture. His most recent book, Film and Constitutional Controversy: Visualizing Hong Kong Identity in the Age of ‘One Country, Two Systems’ (Cambridge University Press 2021), examines how Hong Kong cinema engages with debates about rights, identity, and the rule of law. His first book, Masculinity and the Trials of Modern Fiction (Routledge 2017), approaches literary trials in nineteenth-century England and France as scenes of reading that reconfigure the boundaries between literature and law; it was awarded the Penny Pether Prize from the Law, Literature, and Humanities Association of Australasia. Marco has held visiting positions at the University of Cambridge, the Käte Hamburger Center for Advanced Study in the Humanities ‘Law as Culture’, and the National University of Singapore. He is currently Managing Editor of Law and Literature.