The Dark Academia Book Tag


As it turns out, I have liked dark academia for years without even knowing it existed. I love Shakespeare and ancient philosophy. I like vintage fashion and Oxford aesthetic. I love old books, and skulls, and quills. My point is I’ve been following the dark academia aesthetic without even knowing it.

For those of you who don’t know what Dark Academia is, it’s defined in the Urban Dictionary as “an aesthetic that is inspired by old and classic literature/philosophy, as well as themes of existentialism and death (essentially a knowledgeable, vintage emo).” So…yeah…it’s definitely me and I never knew about it until I discovered the term earlier this year.

So when I found this book tag, co-created by *emmie* over on Youtube, I knew it would perfect for me! Let’s get into it!

1. What is your favourite “academia” or “dark” book + movie?

To Kill a Mockingbird

There were probably some others I would pick, like Dracula or Crime and Punishment, but with those I haven’t been as massive a fan of any of the adaptations, so I’ll go with this one just because honestly the movie from 1963 is just as good as the book. Both are so exceptional and moving, but also rather dark.

2. What dead poet would you like to have a drink with?

Roman bust of Homer

My first thought is Shakespeare, but I’ll pick Homer instead. He wrote The Illiad and The Odyssey, both considered the Bibles of ancient Greece in epic poem format. The reason I pick him is because there is a lot of information already out there about more modern famous poets like Emily Browning that I love, but historians know very little about him (he himself may be partially legendary) and I would be curious to sit down with him and chat about his philosophies and religions.

3. What is your favourite painting and/or sculpture?

See the source image

This is “The School of Athens” by Raphael, painted during the 16th century. I have studied this both in a history class for the historical context and an art history class for the art techniques. Not only does it demonstrate beautiful perspective (the pillars farther away give the painting a three-dimensional feel) that was new to the time, but it is also filled with great philosophical geniuses, mostly notably Plato and Aristotle in the center (Plato is in the red robes and Aristotle is beside him in the blue and brown). It’s not only artistic genius, but also historically complex.

4. What is your favourite architectural marvel?

See the source image

I could go for an obvious one like the pyramids of Egypt or the Great Wall of China, or more modern like Buckingham Palace or the Forbidden City, but I’m going with The Sistine Chapel merely because it is both an architectural marvel and an artistic one. Built and painted during the 15th century, this chapel in Rome is absolutely breathtaking. Everywhere you look there is more beauty to see.

5. What Shakespeare play would you want to be the lead in?

Much Ado About Nothing

I would pick Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing both because I have memorized quite a few of her lines because I adore her and because she’s a fun, humorous character to play. However, if there was ever a gender-bending of Hamlet and I could play him, sign me up!

6. How many languages do you speak and which language would you most like to learn?

Currently, I only fluently speak English. I am going into my second year of studying Chinese this week. As for which languages I would like to learn most, I would have to go with ancient Chinese. It’s similar to modern Chinese but slightly different writing. Other languages I want to learn are Latin, Greek, Korean, old English (also know as Anglo-Saxon), and a whole bunch more. Thought that’s probably never going to happen.

7. What is your favourite quote (from poetry, prose, plays, etc.)?

I can’t pick one! That would be way too hard. I guess I’ll go with the one at the top of my blog, which kind of exemplifies my goals in life.

“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.”

–Virginia Woolf

It fits for me because I constantly want to learn and expand my knowledge for the truth.

8. Which fictional character’s death is your ideal way to go?

A Man Called Ove

Some people might say to die young without having to get crotchety and old is better, but for me I want to die old, realizing I am fallible and imperfect but still loved by those who really matter, just like Ove died in this exceptional book.

9. What university/college would you most like to attend?

See the source image
Oxford University, Oxford, England

Here’s the thing, because the academics at most colleges are really bad right now, I don’t really have a university I would love to attend. However, just for the history and architecture, I would definitely go with Oxford or Cambridge. So beautiful!

10. What is your murder weapon or murder method of choice?

Poison maybe. That has been the choice murder weapon of women historically. Besides, I like learning about all the crazy poisons in the world, from chemical compounds people once thought were healthy for you to the venom of snakes and frogs. So cool!

11. What mythology would you most like to apart of?

That’s a tough question, because I find most mythology from Greek to Roman to Mayan to Chinese. But I guess I would pick Egyptian, simply because Egypt was kind of obsessed with death and the underworld, which I find fascinating.

12. If you had to do a PhD what would you choose to do it on?

I would either pick Far Eastern history or Archival Studies. I’m not sure. I would definitely stick with something having to do with history.

13. Which fictional character would you die for?

I don’t think I’ve ever felt like I wanted to die for a character. I would only die for the people I love in real life. Sounds unromantic, but there it is.

Rapid-Fire: Pick One

1. Leather bound or cloth bound books

Cloth bound books, both because they are a lot cheaper and leather always has the smell of leather, whereas old cloth books get this unique smell to them. Also, I prefer reading from cloth bound books.

2. Dog-earing pages or highlighting pages

Dog-earing pages, definitely. It doesn’t damage the book as much and is less noticeable, while highlighting can harm the reading process itself (coming from someone who has bought a lot of used books, some with highlighting).

3. Sculptures or paintings

Paintings. Take up less space and great ones can look three-dimensional without actually being. But I honestly love both, so this is a tough choice.

4. Piano or violin

Piano. I love both, but I’ve never played violin and I’ve played piano since I was seven, so I may be a bit biased. Also, piano is a lot more challenging to play than violin and I love a challenge.

5. Films or theatre

Theatre. Films are cheaper, but there is something totally unique about seeing something live in front of you. Even on the rare occasion I can afford it, I love attending plays and musicals.

6. Poetry or prose

Prose. Poetry compacts complex concepts (look at that alliteration) into short phrases, where prose can examine the same concepts to a deeper degree. But both can be very beautiful.

7. Museums or bookshops

Museums. Because museums have old books too, so you get history and books in one. Besides, modern bookshops aren’t as appealing to me.

8. Smell of books or smell of coffee/tea

Both? If I had to choose, smell of coffee/tea, though I do love both. But the smell of dusty books does at times make me sneeze, but studying or sitting in a coffee shop just smelling coffee is divine.

9. Fountain pen or typewriter

Typewriter. I choose this simply because I have used a typewriter frequently before, and the one time I used a fountain pen it was cheap and made a mess everywhere. Saying that, I do want to get into fountain pens in the future.

10. New or used books

Used. About 80% of books I buy are used. Not only is it cheaper, but it’s finding a use for old books other people didn’t want.

As always, I am not tagged and I’m not tagging anyone, but I would love to hear your answers to these prompts. This was a longer tag than I’m used to writing, but I loved how the prompts are quite different from your average book tag.

Have you read any of these books or are you interested in dark academia? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments, follow my blog for more musings and, as always,

Best wishes in your life full of adventure,

Madame Writer

21 thoughts on “The Dark Academia Book Tag

    1. It’s such a fun tag to do! You should do it if you have time! And I would be the same on Oxford and Cambridge campus. Just all the history and architecture. And yes, Mandarin is super hard…


  1. Great tag and wonderful answers! “The School of Athens” by Raphael is so beautiful, and the Sistine Chapel is also one of my favourites places in the world. It is great that you want to learn “old languages”, and, for me, ancient Chinese sounds like the hardest of them all! I took a year-long course in Latin some years back, but I would love to pick it up again this year – even if trying to read a textbook once a week and make notes. One of my dreams is to be able to read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in Latin (this is the only book in Latin I currently own).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so cool! Latin is challenging. I took two years of it in high school, but I’m pretty sure I’ve forgotten all but a few words. Those verb conjugations are a nightmare. And ancient Chinese will be hard, especially since I have to learn modern Chinese before I can even start. And Raphael is one of my favorites!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This term “dark academia” is new to me but now that I know what it is, I’ve liked aspects of it for years too. I gotta do this tag too although I probably won’t have answers for 2 of the questions since I hate poetry (so I tell myself) and struggle with Shakespeare (so I tell myself too, lol).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was really excited when I learned the term, and I would love to read your answers if you end up doing the tag. While I do have a few poets I enjoy, I agree with you that it’s not really my cup of tea. Give me a novel over a poem any day. And Shakespeare is really challenging, so I understand, and he definitely isn’t for everybody.


  3. Really awesome post! Though I do not have dark academia style or taste, your enjoyment of it is fascinating. I loved your answers and how thought-through they were. However, I highly disagree with, “… piano is a lot more challenging to play than violin and I love a challenge…”. I play both instruments fairly fluently and the violin is a lot harder! You could ask nearly all violin players (that have played another instrument) which instrument is harder, and they will mostly say that violin is harder. You see, the thing with the violin is, because of its minute size, the notes are very small. See, a guitar’s frets are like the notes on a piano. Each one makes a different sound. While, in violin every tiny millimeter is a different note. So, if you BARELY move your finger up or down, you get a different note. While with piano and guitar, you have the “assigned space” of the note. Its honestly kinda fascinating, but hard. But, like you said, challenges are fun!! On another note, (haha, see what I did there) I really like your blog! You are very thoughtful and well-versed! Thanks for providing such high-quality material! xoxo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! Interesting about the violin. I will leave it to your expertise, since I don’t play the violin. The main reason I heard that the piano is harder is because you have to balance playing multiple notes at one time, as opposed to violin which only plays one note. But I can imagine with such small strings how hard it is to play. I’ve played guitar a bit, but those strings are much bigger.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, true that you play multiple notes at one time on piano but don’t on violin. This does make it easier in that matter, but when fiddling you have to play two strings without squeaking, which is extremely difficult!! Just so you know, I was not trying to demean or criticize your post in any way. I just wanted to throw in my two sentences. Haha! I literally only know one song on the guitar that my brother taught to me. So, I personally don’t know much about the guitar, I’ve just heard the facts from my brother. xoxo

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I love Illiad and Odyssey- Ancient Greece is one of my favorite time periods in history.

    Theater, of course- nothing beats the power of live theater. It is musical theatre I love

    Prefer the smell of coffee

    So would rather want a new book than an used book

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I first read the Illiad/Odyssey in high school- obviously not the entire works. So starting last year, I decided to read the entire works of them- so glad I made that decision

        Liked by 1 person

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