Congratulations to Marco Wan whose book, Masculinity and the Trials of Modern Fiction, published by Routledge in 2016, was awarded the 2017 Penny Pether Prize of the Law, Literature, and Humanities Association of Australasia. The citation for the book on the prize certificate reads as follows:
Marco Wan’s monograph, Masculinity and the Trials of Modern Fiction, is an exemplary work of law and literature. In Wan’s layered reading of five obscenity trials in 19th-century England and France, this book realises some of the most vital aims of the field. Wan’s command of law, and of literature, enables him to appraise the reading practices and pretensions of each, and to illuminate the courtroom conversations that take place between them. Wan asks a question at the heart of law and literature, how does the law read not just the texts but the novels that come before it? He answers this question by attending not only to final judgment, but to an original archive of trial transcripts, prosecution and defence submissions and oral argument. Wan’s reading of law’s encounter with these novels as shaping and preserving hegemonic forms of masculinity deepens his argument and extends the already impressive reach of this book. This is an exceptionally meticulous and beautifully crafted text: alongside its contribution of the fields of law, literature and masculinity and gender studies, Wan prosecutes his case with clarity and authority, and with the pleasure of the reader in mind.
The prize is awarded by the Association to the author whose book has, in the judgment of the Committee, made the most significant contribution to the field of Australasian law, literature and humanities. The prize honours the late Penny Pether (1957-2013), an Australian scholar whose passionate life-long commitment to the field pervaded every aspect of her teaching, research, and academic work. She helped convene the first conference of the Association and founded the interdisciplinary journal Law Text Culture.
As further testament to the excellence of the work, Masculinity and the Trials of Modern Fiction was awarded The University of Hong Kong's Research Output Prize 2016-17 in the Faculty of Law announced in January 2018.