Saturday, April 06, 2024

Isak Dinesen’s “The Blank Page” (1957) and Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” (2017)

After discussing "The Blank Page" (1957) by Isak Dinesen (1885-1962) with students on Friday, 22 March, I discussed Taylor Swift's "Blank Space" (from "reputation", 2017) with students on Wednesday, 3 April. I didn't notice the coincidence of the titles until I was preparing the song and noticed the connection between blankness and writing: "I've got a blank space baby / And I'll write your name." In a 1981 article, Susan Gubar interpreted Dinesen's "blank page" as "an act of defiance" against the erasure of women from literary history. In that light, Swift defiantly asserts herself as the writer who controls the story in "Blank Space" and writes stories in her songs. (Andrew Shields, #111Words, 6 April 2024)

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