Books and Films for the Obsessive Dark Academic

Thanks to the influence of social media apps such as TikTok, different literary genres have become popular in the last couple of years, dark academia being among the most popular of them all. Some of the main things usually associated with dark academia are dark old libraries, autumn and studies of the classics. For those who crave knowledge, here are some books and films that will make you want to run to the nearest library and study for the rest of the day (and even into the night).

Donna Tartt is celebrated for being a dark academia literary pioneer. In what is probably her most famous work, The Secret History, Richard Papen is a young university student who retells the events of what lead up to his involvement in the murder of one of his classmates. 

As in most genres of literature, minority groups are rarely ever the characters who drive the story. In young adult novel Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé, Chiamaka and Devon are the only two Black students at Niveus Academy. Things take a sinister turn as an anonymous poster tries to ruin their reputations in an attempt to drive them out of the school − right before their high school graduation. 

In R.F. Kuang's Babel, Chinese-born but British-raised Robin Swift struggles with what it means to desire the pursuit of knowledge while also being used as a tool to advance British colonialism in the 1800s.

Starring late actor Robin Williams, Dead Poets Society takes place at Welton Academy, an all-boys elite boarding school in 1959. Williams plays a teacher who inspires his students through poetry and philosophy.

Stephen Hawking was one of the most famous scientists of our modern time. In the film The Theory of Everything, a dramatic retelling of Hawking's life is explored. Beginning from his days as a student at Oxford University, the story mainly focuses on his intensive studies, complex marriage and his battle with motor neuron disease.