Texas university students will analyse Taylor Swift lyrics in new undergraduate course

Taylor Swift's songs will provide a "distinctly contemporary lens" to the study of literary traditions and forms. PHOTO: REUTERS

AUSTIN, TEXAS - Over the years, American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift has inspired legions of fans to fervently dissect her song lyrics for special clues about her personal life and relationships.

And now they can do it for college credit, as the University of Texas at Austin launches a new undergraduate course called The Taylor Swift Songbook.

English professor Elizabeth Scala will be teaching it as part of the university's liberal arts honours programme.

In a press release on its website, the university noted that Swift's songs will provide a "distinctly contemporary lens" to the study of literary traditions and forms, alongside the more historical works of William Shakespeare, Robert Frost and John Keats.

Prof Scala noted that the course is a new way to expose formal literary criticism to younger people.

She said: "I want to take what Swift fans can already do at a sophisticated level, tease it out for them a bit with a different vocabulary, and then show them how, in fact, Swift draws on richer literary traditions in her songwriting, both topically but also formally in terms of how she uses references, metaphors and clever manipulations of words."

This is not the first university course inspired by the 32-year-old pop star.

Earlier this year, New York University's Clive Davis Institute launched a course about her life and career as a "creative music entrepreneur".

It culminated in Swift herself showing up at the university's commencement ceremony in May to receive an honorary doctorate, and deliver a speech to her "fellow" graduates.

"I started writing songs when I was 12 and since then, it's been the compass guiding my life, and in turn, my life guided my writing," she noted in her speech.

"Everything I do is just an extension of my writing, whether it's directing videos or a short film, creating the visuals for a tour, or standing on stage performing. Everything is connected by my love of the craft."

Elsewhere in Texas, undergraduates at Texas State University will have the opportunity to study another pop star - English singer Harry Styles, formerly of boy band One Direction.

The course, titled Harry Styles and the Cult of Celebrity: Identity, the Internet and European Pop Culture, is expected to begin next year.

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