Dark academia is a popular academic aesthetic that revolves around classic literature, the pursuit of self-discovery, and a general passion for knowledge and learning. It is one of several variations, each with a unique subject focus. Dark academia's best-known visual variations stem primarily from European cultures.

People who use this aesthetic are usually referred to as dark academics.

Español: Dark Academia es una estética que gira en torno a la literatura clásica, la búsqueda del autodescubrimiento y una pasión general por el conocimiento y el aprendizaje. Es una de varias variaciones, cada una con su propio enfoque histórico único. Dark Academia proviene visualmente de las culturas europeas, al igual que con sus variaciones más conocidas.


Aestheticization of unhealthy behavior

Dark academia has been criticized for its apparent encouragement of unhealthy behavior in the pursuit of both the aesthetic itself and academic achievement.[1][2] Stress and procrastination related to education, depression and its symptoms, unhealthy sleep habits, including both under and oversleeping, and excessive consumption of coffee, are frequently referenced and discussed in dark academic communities.

Western Eurocentrism

Dark academia focuses predominantly on languages, literature, architecture, art, poetry and fashion originating from Western Europe and has been consequently criticized as Eurocentric. Many dark academics have rejected an exclusionary interpretation of dark academia and encouraged academics to include non-Western languages, literature, architecture, and clothing in their conceptions and use of the aesthetic.[3][4][5]

Latin, ancient Greek, English, and French are popular in dark academia both as subjects of linguistic study and in aesthetic images of text. Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and Neoclassical architecture are featured frequently in dark academic images.


Art Academia

Main article: Art Academia

Based on classical art movements.

Chaotic Academia

Main article: Chaotic Academia

A mixture of Dark Academia and 'chaotic' or 'feral' aesthetics like Goblincore. Cramming for tests at midnight and riding caffeine highs for days until you crash. Committing arson with your friends and shoplifting stationery. Spraying 'fuck the electoral college' on brick walls. Falling asleep in the school library and saving all your Monster Energy cans.

Darkest Academia

Main article: Darkest Academia

Similar to Dark Academia, but with darker, even sinister visuals and more serious themes.

Fairy Academia

Main article: Fairy Academia

Based on the visual aesthetics of Victorian and Edwardian childhood.

Light Academia

Main article: Light Academia

Similar to Dark Academia, but with a distinctly lighter color palette and overall aesthetic.

Pastel academia

Main article: Pastel Academia

Less mature than the other forms of academia, pastel academia showcases much more color and a childlike "Kawaii" aesthetic. It is less Eurocentric and more based around Japanese styles of study and clothing.

Theatre academia

Main article: Theatre Academia

Based on plays, operas, and other musically inclined types of art

Witchy Academia

Main article: Witchy Academia

Similar to Dark Academia, but with themes of Witchcraft.

Writer Academia

Main article: Writer Academia

Also known as Writercore or Poetcore, a branch of Academia specifically for writers. Writer Academia holds the belief that anyone could be a writer, or poet, as long as they enjoy writing and hold a passion for their work.


  • Antique books
  • Art museums, with people interacting and viewing the art
  • Blood, poison, and other murder imagery
  • British estates, especially oak-paneled rooms
  • British moors
  • Boarding school-related imagery such as uniforms and sneaking out
  • Campuses of prestigious universities such as Oxford and Harvard
  • Chateaus and palaces
  • Coffee and tea
  • Comparatives/parallels/collections, which are short compilations of 5-10 quotes from poetry, literature, or scripts from different works that center around one motif such as "the kitchen table" and "women and horror." Occassionally, paintings or photographs may be included.
  • Daggers
  • Desks that showcase the OP's stationary collection
  • Forests at night
  • Fountain pens
  • Gothic and Beaux-Arts architecture
  • Homoeroticism
  • Newspapers at cafes
  • Paintings in the Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassical, Academic, Aesthetic, and Pre-Raphaelite periods
  • Quotes and typography
  • Typewriters
  • Rain, fog, and overcast weather
  • Sculpture in the Classical, Hellenistic, Renaissance, Baroque, and Neoclassical periods
  • Smoking
  • Streets of antique European cities such as Paris and Florence




Please do not list books by authors in the list below. By author surname:

  • The Women in the Dunes by Kōbō Abe
  • Ninth House - Leigh Bardugo
  • The Lessons by Naomi Alderman
  • The Rachel Papers by Martin Amis
  • Bunny by Mona Awad
  • Possession by A.S. Byatt
  • The Shakespeare Secret by Jennifer Lee Carrell
  • The Glass Essay by Anne Carson
  • Belle du Seigneur by Albert Cohen
  • The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
  • A Study In Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
  • The Bacchae and Medea by Euripides
  • Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  • Maurice by E. M. Forster
  • The Magus by John Fowles
  • The Likeness by Tana French
  • Mythos, Heroes and Troy by Stephen Fry
  • The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman
  • The Lie Tree by Frances Harding
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
  • The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones
  • Dead Poets Society by N.H. Kleinbaum
  • A Separate Peace by John Knowles
  • Nada by Carmen Laforet
  • Women in Love by D.H. Lawrence
  • The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks and We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
  • Oleanna by David Mamet
  • The Year of the Gadfly by Jennifer Miller
  • Songs of Achilles by Madeline Miller
  • The Starless Sea - Erin Morgenstern
  • Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained by John Milton
  • I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson
  • A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik
  • The Satyricon by Petronius
  • In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust
  • If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio
  • The Harry Potter Series - J.K. Rowling
  • Memoirs of a Woman Doctor by Nawal El Saadawi
  • Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih
  • Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers
  • Frankenstein, or: A Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley
  • Antigone by Sophocles
  • The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
  • The Glitter and the Gold by Consuelo Vanderbilt
  • Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
  • The Truants by Kate Weinberg
  • A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
  • Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar

Tumblr otcnmkOtyu1sqpt8vo1 400.jpg


By author surname:

  • Dante Alighieri
  • Maya Angelou
  • Aristotle
  • Jane Austen
  • James Baldwin
  • Beat Generation (post-war literary movement)
  • The Brontë sisters
  • Albert Camus
  • Geoffrey Chaucer
  • Emily Dickinson
  • Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Federico García Lorca
  • Nicolai Gogol
  • Homer
  • Shirley Jackson
  • Franz Kafka
  • John Keats
  • Count Lautréamont
  • H.P. Lovecraft
  • Milton
  • Vladimir Nabokov
  • Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Sylvia Plath
  • Plato
  • Edgar Allan Poe
  • Alexander Pushkin
  • Arthur Rimbaud
  • Sappho
  • V.E. Schwab
  • William Shakespeare
  • Sophocles
  • Noel Streatfield
  • Donna Tartt
  • Leo Tolstoy
  • Virgil
  • Walt Whitman
  • Oscar Wilde
  • Virginia Woolf

Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan, Left) and Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe, Right), both have their hands held out as if to 'high-five'. Allen's palm is visible to the audience reveling a gash down the center, Lucien is holding the knife they used with his other hand. The characters are performing a 'Blood Oath' while at a party.

Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan, Left) and Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe, Right) are performing a blood oath while at a party.


By year released:

  • The Invisible Man (1933)
  • Rope (1948)
  • In a Lonely Place (1950)
  • Dial M for Murder (1954)
  • Compulsion (1959)
  • If... (1968)
  • Suspiria (1977 or 2018)
  • Another Country (1984)
  • Maurice (1987)
  • Withnail & I (1987)
  • The Unnameable (1988)
  • The Chocolate War (1988)
  • True Believer (1989)
  • Dead Poets Society (1989)
  • Metropolitan (1990)
  • Scent of a Woman (1992)
  • School Ties (1992)
  • Peter's Friends (1992)
  • Shallow Grave (1994)
  • Heavenly Creatures (1994)
  • Immortal Beloved (1994)
  • Total Eclipse (1995)
  • Good Will Hunting (1997)
  • Wilde (1997)
  • The Ninth Gate (1999)
  • The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
  • Wonder Boys (2000)
  • The Emperor's Club (2002)
  • The Pianist (2002)
  • The Dreamers (2003)
  • Bright Young Things (2003)
  • Mona Lisa Smile (2003)
  • Capote (2005)
  • Like Minds (2006)
  • The Prestige (2006)
  • The Great Debaters (2007)
  • Brideshead Revisited (2008)
  • Detachment (2011)
  • Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)
  • Kill Your Darlings (2013)
  • The Imitation Game (2014)
  • Testament of Youth (2014)
  • The Riot Club (2014)
  • The Theory of Everything (2014)
  • Victor Frankenstein (2015)
  • The Danish girl (2015)
  • The Bookstore (2017)
  • Phantom Thread (2017)
  • Disobedience (2017)
  • Colette (2018)
  • Mary Shelley (2018)
  • Vita & Virginia (2018)
  • The Nightingale (2018)
  • Tolkien (2019)
  • Elisa y Marcela (2019)
  • Knives Out (2019)
  • Las Niñas (2020)
  • Shirley (2020)


  • Dark Dice
  • The Magnus Archives
  • The Penumbra Podcast
  • Prose Talk
  • Unwell A Midwestern Gothic Mystery
  • The White Vault

TV Shows

  • The Alienist
  • Ares
  • Deadly Class
  • Elementary
  • Endeavour
  • Freud
  • Gentleman Jack
  • Hannibal
  • His Dark Materials
  • House of Anubis
  • How To Get Away With Murder
  • Mindhunter
  • Murdoch Mysteries
  • The Magicians
  • The Nevers
  • The Night Gallery
  • Ordeal By Innocence
  • Penny Dreadful
  • Pennyworth
  • Poldark
  • Prodigal Son
  • The Queen's Gambit
  • Sherlock
  • Taboo
  • The Umbrella Academy

Anime & manga

  • 91 Days
  • Ancient Magus Bride
  • Baccano
  • Black Butler (especially the Public School Arc)
  • Black Museum: The Ghost and the Lady
  • Bungou Stray Dogs
  • The Cat Returns
  • Code Geass
  • Colorful
  • Doukyuusei
  • From Up on Poppy Hill
  • Fullmetal Alchemist
  • Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo
  • The Garden of Words
  • Gosick
  • Hyouka
  • Joker Game
  • Little Witch Academy
  • Monster
  • Moriarty the Patriot
  • The Promised Neverland
  • The Royal Tutor
  • Saga of Tanya the Evil
  • Snow White with the Red Hair
  • Steamboy
  • Vampire Knight
  • Violet Evergarden
  • Whisper of the Heart
  • Tales from Earthsea
  • The Wind Rises
  • Your Name


  • Another Country
  • The Inheritance
  • Spring Awakening
  • Total Eclipse


  • The Count of Monte Cristo
  • Dogfight
  • Frankenstein: A New Musical
  • Hadestown
  • Jekyll & Hyde
  • Light in the Plazza
  • Natasha Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812
  • Phantom of the Opera
  • Spring Awakening
  • Sweeney Todd
  • Twisted


  • Sofonisba Anguissola
  • Jean-Michel Basquiat
  • Caravaggio
  • Camille Claudel
  • Roberto Ferri
  • Artemisia Gentileschi
  • Vincent Willem Van Gogh
  • Trevor Henderson
  • Jenny Holzer
  • Alfred Kubin
  • Michelangelo
  • Maldha Mohamed
  • Claude Monet
  • Raphaël
  • Rembrandt
  • Leonardo Da Vinci





  • Breezeblocks, Fitzpleasure by Alt-J
  • Symphony No.9 "From the new world" by Antonín Dvořák
  • Do I Wanna Know? by Arctic Monkeys
  • Icarus by Bastille
  • Goodnight Socialite by The Brobecks
  • Dionysus by The Buttertones
  • For the Damaged Coda by Blonde Redhead
  • Danse Macabre by Camille Saint-Saens
  • Apocalypse by Cigarettes After Sex
  • Claire de Lune, La Mer by Claude Debussy
  • Yellow by Coldplay
  • Dreams by The Cranberries
  • Piano Concerto Op.54 by Edvard Grieg
  • Symphony No.8 "Unfinished" by Felix Mendelssohn
  • Violin Concerto No.2 by Felix Mendelssohn
  • Dog Days Are Over, Seven Devils, Shake It Out by Florence and the Machine
  • The French Library by Franz Gordon
  • Hungarian Rhapsody No.2 by Franz Liszt
  • Piano Trio No.2 by Franz Schubert
  • Etude No.11 by Frédéric Chopin
  • Achilles Come Down by Gang of Youths
  • We Fell in Love in October by Girl in Red
  • Cherry Wine, Dinner and Diatribes, Take Me To Church, Wasteland, Baby! by Hozier
  • Hungarian Dance No.1 by Johannes Brahms
  • Babooshka, Cloudbusting by Kate Bush
  • Hope Is A Dangerous Thing For A Woman Like Me To Have - but I Have It, Pretty When You Cry, Video Games, Young and Beautiful by Lana Del Rey
  • I Want to Feel Alive by Lighthouse and the Whaler
  • The Louvre, Sober (II), Writer in the Dark by Lorde
  • Piano Concerto No.3, Piano Sonata No.8 "Pathétique" by Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Body, Burning Pile, Oh Ana by Mother Mother
  • A Little Death, Sweater Weather by The Neighbourhood
  • Ann Wants to Dance by Papooz
  • Lotta True Crime by Penelope Scott
  • Pruit Igoe by Phillip Glass
  • Feed the Machine by Poor Mans Poison
  • Dr Mabuse by Propaganda
  • Danse Russe (Moderato / Swan Lake Act 3) Violin Concerto by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
  • Piano Sonata No.2 by Robert Schumann
  • Piano Concerto No.2, Sonata for 2 Violins Op.56 by Sergei Prokofiev
  • Piano concerto No.2, Prelude No.5 by Sergei Rachmaninoff
  • Tom's Diner by Suzanne Vega
  • Breakout by Swing Out Sister
  • Persephone by Tamino
  • Theme for Bioshock 1
  • Reflections by Toshifumi Hinata
  • Your Woman by White Town
  • Fantasia in D Minor by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  • Cape Town by The Young Veins
  • Nocturnal waltz - Johannes Bornlöf
  • O children - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds


  • An Unkindness of Ravens
  • Deadly Class
  • Fangs
  • Hooky
  • Morning Glories
  • Promethea
  • Purple Hyacinth
  • The Umbrella Academy
  • Unwritten
  • Your Throne

A violin rests on a bed of open faced books featuring sheets of music.



Black and white image of a regatta. The boat in frame holds eight rowers and one coxswain. The regatta is taking place in front of a tree filled landscape


  • Rowing
  • Fencing
  • Tennis
  • Badminton
  • Cricket
  • Rugby
  • Golf
  • Swimming
  • Polo
  • Equestrian sports
  • Running
  • Javelin, discus, wrestling while covered in oil (ancient Grecian Olympics)
  • Archery
  • Ballet, ballroom dancing, any traditional dance works
  • Pool (cue sports)

Black and white image of white men playing chess.


  • Chess
  • Croquet
  • Backgammon
  • Cards: rummy, poker, blackjack, speed, whist, etc.

Video Games

  • 1917: The Prologue
  • Alicemare
  • Alter Ego
  • Amnesia: The Dark Descent, A Machine for Pigs, & Rebirth
  • Bloodborne
  • Bully (series)
  • Call of Cthulhu
  • Corpse Party
  • Danganronpa series
  • Detention
  • Dishonored
  • GrimGrimoire
  • Ib
  • Layers of Fear
  • The Last Door Season 1
  • Mad Father
  • Persona 5
  • The Metamorphosis
  • The Room VR: A Dark Matter
  • Trivia Murder Party
  • Rusty Lake game series
  • Vampyr
  • What Never Was


  • Realistic drawing
  • Calligraphy
  • Painting
  • Bookbinding



  • Museums
  • Art galleries
  • Places of historical interest
  • Pubs, bars, and cafés
  • Parks and gardens
  • Places of worship
  • Graveyards
  • Theaters
  • The opera
  • Concerts
  • Libraries
  • Art stores
  • Bookshops
  • Special events
  • Independent bookstores


  • Write essays
  • Research
  • Daydream
  • Read
  • Perform a play alone or to a pet
  • Play or practice an instrument
  • Fake your death
  • Draw or paint something
  • Reflect on the past
  • Journal
  • Admire cityscape/nature


The main inspiration for Dark Academic fashion comes from 1940s prep school uniforms. Elements of the 1950s suburban American preppy look are often incorporated, such as sweater vests or sweaters worn tied over the shoulders. The main colour scheme is black, grey, beige, brown, cream, ivory, dark green, burgundy, and soft yellow. Usual fabric choices are more upscale, like cashmere, wool, and tweed, but linen and cotton are also very common. Accessories are usually minimal, like bracelets, rings, pendants, watches, cuff-links, and other dapper add-on pieces.

(La principal inspiración para el estilo Dark Academic proviene de los uniformes escolares de preparación de los años 40. El esquema de color principal es negro, gris, beige, marrón, crema, marfil, verde oscuro, burdeos, un amarillo suave. Las opciones habituales de telas son más exclusivas, como la cachemira, la lana y el tweed, pero el lino y el algodón también son muy comunes. Los accesorios suelen ser mínimos, como pulseras, anillos, colgantes, relojes, gemelos y otros complementos elegantes.)

Stores & Brands


  • Turtlenecks
  • Oxford shirts
  • Fisherman's sweaters
  • Sweater vests
  • Light blouses
  • Large polo necks
  • Cable knit jumpers
  • Sailor-collar shirts
  • Jumpers
  • Shirt dresses
  • A-Line dresses
  • Blousons
  • Drop waist dress

Tumblr de1c5b8eaf6e37ea6464a5f2f58b721c 96fccb7c 640.jpg


  • Dress pants
  • Ankle pants
  • High rise pants
  • Trousers
  • Cigarette pants
  • Linen shorts
  • Tweed trousers
  • Plaid skirts
  • Mid-length or long skirts
  • Pinafore
  • Sailor skirts
  • Pleated skirts
  • Pencil skirts

Tumblr 3bdd6b40ae71a843320841b027b60423 9db693cd 640.jpg


  • Cardigans
  • Blazers
  • Waistcoats
  • Pea coats
  • Suit jackets
  • Trenchcoats
  • Overcoats
  • Duffle coats
  • Chesterfield coat
  • Coat dresses
  • Smock
  • Dark coloured apron


  • Oxfords/brogues
  • Loafers
  • Wingtips
  • Boat shoes
  • Dr. Martens
  • Mary Janes
  • Chelsea Boots


  • Silver or gold jewelry
  • Broaches
  • Simple rings
  • Satchel
  • Wire-frame glasses
  • Short, neat fingernails
  • Belts that match your shoes
  • Knee-high socks
  • Watches
  • Sweaters tied over the shoulders
  • Undone or loosely tied ties
  • Dark-colored umbrellas
  • Kerchiefs/bandanas






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