I recently came across this tag on BookTube. I found it via Hannah’s Books https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12-CM7fALtY. It was created much earlier this year by two booktubers, Emma https://youtu.be/YsxQAWL9pFA and Carolyn https://youtu.be/UdfgRG5utQ8.
Dark Academia is apparently an aesthetic and a lifestyle based on romanticizing the Oxbridge or Ivy League life. I hadn’t heard of it before I watched Hannah’s video, but it does remind me of my student days. My aesthetic (if it could have been called that) was more of a mixture between academia (I owned a very nice tweed blazer), hippy (dungarees), and romantic, blousy touches (inspired by the Third Doctor). Though I didn’t really have much of a consistent look. I experimented some, but mostly returned to jeans and various tops. Which I’m still wearing today, after an interlude of wearing shirts with waistcoats or sleeveless sweaters when I first started work. Nowadays my tops are utilitarian (I got fed up with ironing all those shirts) and not particularly exciting. In summer I wear mostly light-coloured clothes, as I can’t stand the heat in black or dark colours. In winter I branch out into more colourful options as I think winter needs colour.
My interest in Dark Academia is more about the passion for learning and books, mostly for the arts and humanities, but also neuroscience, psychology, biology. Physics and maths are rather too difficult for me, especially at university level.
Anyway, I found the various BookTube videos very interesting (especially Hannah’s, whose videos I always like a lot) and though it would be fun to answer the tag questions here:
1. What is your favourite academia or dark book and/or movie?
When interpreting academia in a romantic way I’d say that my favourite dark academia book is The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien. It is the creative ontology, mythology and history that Lord of the Rings is based on. It’s certainly dark enough, lots of tragic heroes and heroines. Lots of apocalyptic conflicts. Not mention that it was written by a professor. I’ve loved it since first I read it, when I was 12.
My favourite dark academia movie? The Name of the Rose (I also like the book).
2. What dead poet would you like to have a drink with?
None. I never want to talk to famous people, or people I admire (but don’t know), because I’m shy and dreadful at small talk. Also, I imagine that the questions I want to ask have all been asked before and will be boring for the poet. And what if the poet I admire can’t live up to my expectations and turns out to be someone I don’t like?
If I didn’t have all these hang-ups, I’d like to talk with Emily Dickinson. But as I understand it, she was very retiring. I’m shy. We’d probably just gaze at each other unhappily.
3. What is your favourite painting or sculpture?
I like Paul Gauguin’s pacific island scenes and I also love Franz Marc’s blue horses (all his animal paintings, really). As for sculptures, I have a predilection for prehistoric animal sculptures, like the Vogelherd horse. Also ancient Egyptian cat statues.
4. A favourite architectural marvel?
I don’t have a favourite, but I love monasteries of any religion. I like the way they are often at beautiful location, with beautiful buildings and grounds. I also like the idea of the contemplative life (although I’m not so hot on the obedience to one’s superior part).
5. What Shakespeare play would you like to be the lead in?
I wouldn’t want to play the lead in any play, but I wouldn’t mind being a supporting actor in The Tempest.
6. How many languages do you speak, and which language would you most like to learn?
I speak German, English, and some Tok Pisin and I had French at school (but can’t remember much of it). I keep trying to learn Latin, but somehow never have time (or make time?) to really get ahead.
7. What is your favourite quote?
Because I could not stop for Death –
He kindly stopped for me –
The carriage held but just ourselves –
It’s the beginning of poem 712, my favourite Emily Dickinson poem.
8. Which fictional character’s death is your ideal way to go?
Well, the one above. Wouldn’t it be something to be picked up by Death in a carriage? As that is rather unlikely, I would like to die of very old age after a full life, like Aragorn in Lord of the Rings.
9. What university or college would you most like to attend?
I used to think I would like to attend one of the Ivy League colleges or Oxford or Cambridge, but I’m not sure if I would fit in (or maybe I wouldn’t be up to it intellectually). Trinity College in Dublin might be nice. But it really depends on what one wants to study.
10. What is your murder weapon or murder method of choice?
Murder in only fun when it’s fictional. As such, it would be great to be able to kill by glaring at someone.
11. What mythology would you most like to be part of?
Mythologies are great to read about, but uncomfortable to live in. That said, I’d like to live in the peaceful parts of The Silmarillion, as that is my mythology of choice.
12. If you had to do a PhD, what would you choose to do it in?
It would have to be something in the humanities, as STEM subjects are beyond me. I’d like to do a PhD in creative writing in the hopes that that would help me improve my writing. Comparative literature is also something that sounds great. Or poetry… there are so many possibilities, it’s hard to decide.
13 Which fictional character would you die for?
None. Even if I did, I’m not at all convinced that I’d be courageous enough to pull it off, especially not if there was time to think before acting. I might do something dangerous that I wouldn’t survive in the heat of the moment, but sacrificing myself on purpose? Very difficult.
That was fun! The tag on BookTube contains some more either/or questions, but I’m leaving them out.
Keep safe, world.