the texts of the singer soon studied in a course of literature

A “gateway” to literature

This course aims above all to make literature “more accessible”, as Elly McCausland explains: “it is not a question of creating a fan club” of the singer. “The aim is to make students realize that English literature is not a pile of old books written long ago and gathering dust in a library, but is a living, breathing and that is constantly evolving”, to inspire the pop music of today, she underlines. According to her, it is possible to rely on titles like “Anti-Hero” to analyze the figure of the anti-hero, or on “The Man” to evoke gender roles, feminism and persistent inequalities.

The popularity of the course seems to be there, Elly McCausland having even received registration requests from students outside the Flemish university, including via her Instagram account. But her project has also sparked waves of critical comments online, questioning the need to introduce Taylor Swift into a university arts curriculum, and more so at the master’s level. For Elly McCausland, this recalls the controversy triggered in 2016 by the awarding of the Nobel Prize for Literature to Bob Dylan, a singer-songwriter also steeped in literary references.

New heights

The Ghent University initiative comes as Taylor Swift, who released her first album in 2006, saw her career reach new heights this year with her “Eras Tour” (more than 100 concerts), a world tour which could exceed the billion dollar mark in revenue.

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