Dr Simon Petch

MA Oxf. PhD Prin.
Senior Lecturer

+61 2 9351 3827

My main research interest is the relationships between literary and legal discourses in nineteenth-century Britain. My teaching, while focused on nineteenth-century British literature, extends into the more general areas of literature and politics, and all types of lifewriting. My main publications are to do with the theory and philosophy of law in relation to literature in the Victorian period, but my interest in legal discourse has also taken me to Norman Mailer’s The Executioner’s Song, and to the western film, on both of which I have written. From a more personal perspective I have also written on Elvis Presley.

Research Group

Current project

  • Further work on the legal culture of Victorian England and its relationship to the literature of the period.

Selected publications

  • "Norman Mailer, Gary Gilmore, and the untold stories of the Law", Heat 3 (Jan): 142-160. 1997.
  • "Law, Equity, and Conscience in Victorian England", Victorian Literature and Culture 25: 123-139. 1997.
  • "Equity and Natural Law in The Ring and the Book", Victorian Poetry 35: 105-111. 1997.
  • "The King and I", Heat 7 (Feb): 142-160. 1997.
  • "Walks of Life: Legal", in Herbert F. Tucker, ed., Blackwell Companion to Victorian Literature and Culture. Oxford: Blackwell. Pp. 155-169. 1999.
  • "The Sovereign Self: Identity and Responsibility in Victorian England, Freeman and Lewis, eds., Current Legal Issues 2. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Pp. 397-415. 1999.
  • ‘Robert Audley’s Profession’ (2000) Studies in the Novel 32/1: 1-13
  • ‘The Law, the Western, and Wyatt Earp’ (2001), HEAT 2 (new series): 93-107.
  • ‘The Business of the Barrister in A Tale of Two Cities’ (2002), Criticism 44/1: 37-60.
  • 'Trampling out the Vintage: Revenge and Resentment in High Noon.' Sydney Studies in English 29 (2003), 57-68.
  • [with Roslyn Jolly] 'Law and Politics in Unforgiven.' Arizona Quarterly 60:1 (Spring 2004), 125-145.
  • [with Roslyn Jolly] 'The Radical Vision of One-Eyed Jacks, Film Criticism 29:1 (Fall 2004) 38-64