Academic Lead: Dr Clio Doyle
Is the work of Taylor Swift literature?
You may have seen articles, in publications ranging from the Wall Street Journal to Teen Vogue, about seminars on Taylor Swift that were recently offered at some American universities. These university-level classes on Swift's work and its form, context, and implications raise all kinds of questions about what should be taught, read, and studied. Is Swift's work literature, and is it worth studying in the same way that one would study Shakespeare or Dickens? In this module, we will grapple with ideas of canonicity and literary value and think about what it means to read something as literature.
This module suggests that the lyrics of Taylor Swift can and should be read as literature. In doing so, we will pay close attention to formal elements such as rhyme and word choice. We will also analyze her songs with the help of key texts in critical theory and discuss the political, national, and historical contexts of her work. Queen Mary's London setting will encourage us to pay particular attention to the way in which the UK, and London in particular, figures in Swift's lyrics.
Swift's songs reflect on literary history; for example, "the lakes" makes references to Romantic poets and "Love Story" revises Shakespeare. In this module, we will build an understanding of Swift as an artist who is deeply interested in the relationship between her lyrics and the literature of the past.
2023 Taylor Swift and Literature Syllabus [PDF 85KB]
Course content is subject to change.
This course aims to:
You will be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, practical workshops and field trips.
You will gain:
You will be able to:
All reading material will be provided online, so it is not necessary to purchase any books.
For course and housing fees visit our finance webpage
We welcome Summer School students from around the world. We accept a range of qualifications
Have a question? Get in touch - one of the team will be happy to help!
Applications close 24 May 2024
Ask a question