Belgium’s Ghent University is launching a course titled “Literature (Taylor’s Version)” that employs Taylor Swift’s song lyrics to explore prominent English literary works and their thematic underpinnings.
This innovative approach is the brainchild of Elly McCausland, an assistant professor at the university. McCausland perceives Swift’s songs as rich with literary references, offering a chance to examine feminism, the anti-hero archetype, and metaphorical storytelling.
The course aims to make literature more approachable by demonstrating its ongoing evolution rather than fostering a mere fan club. It employs Swift’s lyrics as a conduit to classic literary works by renowned authors like Shakespeare, Bronte, Chaucer, and Thackeray.
Swift also references other authors like Dickens and Dickinson, drawing parallels with British Romantic poets. The course’s popularity has extended beyond the university’s boundaries, with requests to join coming in from external sources.
Despite some skepticism online, McCausland likens the critique to the initial doubts faced by Bob Dylan after he won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2016. This endeavor aims to reinvigorate literature’s accessibility and relevance using contemporary musical artistry.