My hatred for Taylor Swift is the stuff of legend. I kid you not. Ask anyone I went to college with. Taylor Swift’s songs – especially “Fifteen” – contain views of gender roles that troglodytes would be proud of. But that is neither here nor there. Today I will be aloof, dignified, scholarly, and talk about Taylor Swift, Jane Austen, and the Iliad. An odd combo, but that’s what’ll make it fun. We’ll start with Taylor; the specific song that I want to analyze is “Love Story,” from her album “Fearless.”
The most terrible thing about this song is that I absolutely love it. I’ll come back to that in a minute. First of all, I want to note the things which the movie – both explicitly and implicitly – makes reference to:
Fairy Tales. This is an implicit reference; however, we do have Taylor Swift standing on a balcony in a tower. (Rapunzel anyone?) The song’s title, “Love Story,” is also a gesture towards the fairy-tale genre, as is its opening line, “We were both young when I first saw you.
Romeo and Juliet. The classic love story, no? Swift is Juliet, Dashing Man With Very Styled Hair (I’ll call him DMV) is Romeo.
The Scarlet Letter. Not a good idea on Swift’s part. The line: “Cause you were Romeo, I was a Scarlet Letter, and my Daddy said, ‘Stay away from Juliet.'”
Jane Austen. Here I am not talking about any particular Jane Austen book, movie, or other adaptation, but rather the sort of romantic “brand” that Regency England has become, and which is often talked about under Jane Austen’s name. This sort of Jane Austen has several things: waistcoats, lovely dresses, women with diamonds and/or gold in their up-dos, country dances of the like shown in Swift’s music video. In fact, that dance is basically just a flashier, more polished, less witty version of the dance between Darcy and Elizabeth from the 2005 film (which in turn was a flashier, more polished, less witty version of the same dance from the 1995 mini-series). You’ll find the video after the jump: Read the rest of this entry »