Swifterature: How Taylor Swift's music exhibits her love for English Literature

Taylor Swift and English Literature? It's a love story!

08 February, 2024
Swifterature: How Taylor Swift's music exhibits her love for English Literature

Taylor Swift's music has transcended generations. But Swift is more than just a singer-songwriter; she's a literary giant. From her beginnings as a country singer to being a global pop icon, her music has drawn inspiration from the vast world of literature. If you're not familiar with "Swifterature," you are missing out on both literary and musical gems. 

Here are the many ways Taylor Swift's love for literature comes alive in her music!

Her passion and dedication to the two fields are undeniable

Swift's passion for literature is no secret. She's an avid reader, actively participates in literary communities, and has even co-written a song for the audiobook adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. This dedication speaks volumes about her desire to bridge the gap between music and literature, creating a unique space for fans who appreciate both art forms.

Folklore and Evermore: The most poetic albums you'll ever listen to

These two albums, steeped in folklore and mythology, stand as testaments to the vast Swifterature that exists. They are brimming with metaphors, symbolism, and lyrical imagery that evoke classic literary styles. The use of storytelling, rich vocabulary, and even archaic words from Old English literature, transports listeners to yesteryears.

From 'Invisible String' to 'Illicit Affairs'—each song in Folklore (2020) is inspired by classic works like Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre and The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. Even her bonus song 'The Lakes' in the deluxe album of Folklore paints images of nature and beauty to convey her message of introspection and self-discovery. She sings about waterfalls, rose gardens, and moss-covered stones, all acting as metaphors to communicate something deeper about the world and herself.

"Take me to the lakes
Where all the poets went to die
I don't belong, and my beloved, neither do you"

Her lyrics, when paired with her mystically beautiful voice, create a deep emotional impact on the listener almost like a work of literary art.

Additionally, Swift hints at William Wordsworth’s name in the line: "...tell me what are my words worth."

Other albums inspired by classic literature

Taylor Swift loves The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. In the album Reputation (2017), Swift references Gatsby in the song 'This is Why We Can't Have Nice Things', using it to illustrate the opulence of the many parties.

How can we forget 'Love Story'? Swift was just 15- years-old when she wrote the song. Like many bright-eyed 15-year-olds, Taylor Swift read Romeo and Juliet and thought the ending was a bit of a downer. She felt the song needed a revamp and added a proposal to her song 'Love Story'. The song went on to become a love anthem and still continues to be.

Swift's music repertoire is part of the English Literature syllabus 

Students can now study Taylor Swift's songs as part of the English Literature syllabus at Ghent University in Belgium. Crazy, right? Elly McCausland, an assistant professor of literature at the university, has compared Swift’s song 'The Great War' from the album Midnights (2022) to the poem 'Daddy' by Sylvia Plath.

Who wouldn’t want to take up that course? We’re all listening to Taylor’s music all the time; we might as well study about it!

Her new album, The Tortured Poets Department


A post shared by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift)

The title of Swift's upcoming album is itself an ode to literature. The Tortured Poets Department set to be released on April 19, promises an exploration of emotions, vulnerability, and the creative spirit, likely drawing inspiration from renowned literary figures. This upcoming release further cements Swift's position as a literary classic in the music industry.

Also read: The world is obsessed with Taylor Swift. Here's why!

Also read: From heartbreak to girl boss era, Taylor Swift has a song for EVERY situation in your life