My first application letter and CV is going to the University of Texas at Austin. Everyone has told me that Austin is by far the best place to live in Texas for, while it is expensive, it is also a liberal bastion. All I know is that In Nomine based its campaign arc there -- a decision I always found a bit narcissistic.
UT at Austin has the Harry Ransom Center, a collection of rare books and manuscripts that (in some areas) rivals the Huntington Library or even (in other areas) surpasses it. They have what appears to be a modest rare comics collection, along with a strong holding in the English Renaissance: Spenser, Milton, and of course Shakespeare. Indeed, the whole campus seems to have a bit of Shakespeare on the brain. I expect I would love it there. They're also a full graduate program with a Ph.D. in English, something not every school I am applying to can boast.
The competition will, no doubt, be fierce. They're looking specifically for Spenser and Metaphysicals experts, and I can nail that hard. But so can my fellow Ph.D. Jean Bacharova. If I lose to her, at least I will have lost fair and square however, as she is a class act.