BRUSSELS - From “Alice in Wonderland” to “The Great Gatsby”, “Rebecca” to “Jane Eyre”, the songs of singer-songwriter Taylor Swift are filled with clear and subtle literary references. Now, a literature professor in Belgium has seized on the bookish qualities of Swift’s lyrics to launch a course using the US superstar’s songs to delve into the greats of English writing and the themes of their work. For Elly McCausland, an assistant professor at Ghent University, Swift’s songs offer an opportunity to explore feminism, for example through “The Man”, and the anti-hero trope through the aptly named song “Anti-Hero” from her 2022 album, “Midnights”. McCausland decided earlier this year to mastermind a course to start in September inspired by Swift’s work after listening to “The Great War”, also from “Midnights”. “The way she uses the war, like a metaphor for a relationship, made me a bit uncomfortable and it got me thinking about Sylvia Plath’s poem ‘Daddy’, which does a similar thing and also it’s very uncomfortable reading,” the academic told AFP. McCausland knew all too well the power of the singer’s work as a “real Swiftie” herself and insists that the course, “Literature (Taylor’s Version)”, is a way to make literature “more accessible” and “not to create a Swift fan club”.