Darkest Academia (also known as Gothic Academia) is a subgenre of academia that (hence it's name) is darker than usual visually and in nature. It encompasses the Academia aesthetic (classic literature, the pursuit of self-discovery, and a general passion for knowledge and learning), but with more serious and mature themes (unlike Romantic Academia).  It takes what Dark Academia is about and turns it up to 11, incorporating gothic studies, literature, poetry, arts, architecture, music, and general Gothic related topics. It is related to finding beauty within the darkest places.


Cobblestone alleyways, study nooks shrouded in shadows, spiraling thunderstorm clouds atop ancient libraries, a scowling face among a desolate study room. Much like Dark Academia, the Darkest Academia aesthetic can visually be depicted in a sophisticated setting albeit with a more somber and highly prestigious twist; a Darkest academic can be found in a "Thinker Pose" over a collection of Edgar Allan Poe's poems paired with black coffee.

However! If your personal life does not visually match up to this aesthetic, that is entirely okay (your life does not have to be completely DA to be considered a Darkest Academic). Aesthetic communities should make the individual feel comfortable and accepted regardless of lifestyle, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, etc. A Darkest Academic should inherently be focused on the pursuit of knowledge and the betterment of oneself. The visual aesthetics are just an add-on.

Some examples of visual inspiration include dark libraries, reading in the evening, old books, solitude, night skies, dark nights on storms, rain clouds and thunder. These are basic ideas that you could branch off of.


  • brown tweed jackets
  • dress shoes
  • scarves
  • black dress pants
  • black turtlenecks


A lot of popular works within Darkest Academia generally have a dark, gothic atmosphere to them. Some of the influential writers are:

  • Anne Rice
  • Ann Radcliffe
  • Bram Stoker
  • Carson McCullers
  • Charlaine Harris
  • Cormac McCarthy
  • Dorothy Allison
  • Edgar Allan Poe
  • Eudora Welty
  • Harry Crews
  • Horace Walpole
  • Matthew Gregory Lewis
  • Mary Shelley
  • Toni Morrison
  • Truman Capote
  • William Faulkner


The music the revolves around this aesthetic is calming. It is usually relaxed jazz or classical piano. Since it is Darkest Academia, the sound and feeling of the music would be a bit emotional, for example a piece called "Notre Dame, Notre Potrimoine" by Leon Noel. It is a classical piano piece that has a darker tone. Darkest Academia is not entirely, but for the most part, filled with somber music, a jazzy example would be, "A Little Death" by The Neighbourhood. A popular artist associated with this aesthetic and similar ones is Hozier.

Here is a Youtube music playlist that is still a work in progress but gives and idea on the music.




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