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Weekend Recs: Dark Academia

Happy Friday, Wildcats! Falvey Memorial Library is delivering you another semester of Weekend Recs, a blog dedicated to filling you in on what to read, listen to, and watch over the weekend. Annie, a graduate assistant from the Communication department, scours the internet, peruses the news, and digs through book stacks to find new, relevant, and thought-provoking content that will challenge you and prepare you for the upcoming week. 

Photo by Henry Be on Unsplash

Freshly shined oxfords, leather-bound books, knee-high socks, secret societies, argyle sweater vests, Greek mythology, and plaid, lots of plaid. The dark academia genre of literature and media blends a romanticization of academia, especially the Classics, with a plot rife with mystery, murder, romance, and intrigue. Since it’s growth in the 1980s and 1990s, it has also become a thriving Internet subculture and, more recently, a mod aesthetic on social media. For the interested or unaware, this weekend’s recs will help you explore the dark academia subculture.

If you have 5 minutes…and know nothing about dark academia, check out L’Officiel‘s dark academia guide. The article discusses dark academia both as a social media trend, rooted in a dark prep aesthetic, and a thriving subculture.

If you have 7 minutes…and want a grounded glimpse into dark academia, read this article from the New York Times. Pamela Paul is able to balance the elegant and, perhaps misguidedly, nostalgic allure of dark academia with the current, less glamorous realities of modern academia.

If you have 10 minutes…and aren’t aware of some of the common critiques of dark academia, read this article. The main critique of dark academia is its overwhelming whiteness, which often can discourage and marginalize People of Color within the subculture (This article also helps shed light on these criticisms).

If you have 15 minutes…and want to hear how a Black queer woman negotiates a love for dark academia with its Eurocentric tendencies, read Mel Monier’s “Too Dark for Dark Academia?” essay. Monier’s essay is both a firsthand critique and a hopeful love letter to dark academia (and truly worth the read).

If you have 20 minutes…and are interested in exploring or adopting the dark academia lifestyle for yourself, check out this style and subculture guide. It provides some big-sister-style advice for getting into the dark academia subculture, including outfit ideas, shopping and styling tips, and movie and book recommendations.

If you have 1 hour and 45 minutes…and are in the mood for a based-on-a-true-story dark academia film, watch Kill Your Darlings, available online through Falvey. The film follows the poets Allen Ginsburg (played by Daniel Radcliffe) and Lucien Carr (played by Dane DeHaan) as they attend Columbia University and get wrapped up in a plot of murder, romance, and poetry.

If you have 12 hours…and are looking for a queer dark academic novel, read Victoria Lee’s A Lesson in Vengeance, available through Interlibrary Loan. This modern take on dark academia centers (obviously) academia, queer romance, secrecy, and the occult.

Bonus: If you want to get some POC-centered dark academia book recommendations, check out this list.

If you have a free weekend…and want to read a dark academic cult classic, read Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, available through Interlibrary Loan. Set in (my favorite state) Vermont, the novel features Classical academia and a murder mystery.

Bonus: Check out this list of dark academia literature essentials for more book recommendations.


Annie Stockmal is a graduate student in the Communication Department and graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library.


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Last Modified: November 11, 2022