Amazing Lesser Known Dark Academia Books

A few months ago I did a book tag on Dark Academia (you can check it out here). In that post, I defined it as an aesethic which focuses on classic literature and philosophy, especially that of the early 20th century. Since than I have been browsing many lists to find new “dark academia” books to read. However, I’ve found that many of my favorites do not find their way onto most of these lists.

So today I’m going to share some of my favorite dark academia books which probably don’t get as much love as they deserve.

The Beekeeper's Apprentice (Mary Russell, #1)

I’ve talked about this book on my blog before, but it’s been awhile. This is one of the few retellings I would recommend (at least the first few books of the series). This is a series which presents Mary Russell, a young woman who becomes the apprentice and later wife of Sherlock Holmes.

It’s a brilliant book, and balances philosophy and rising ideologies of the time, as well as adventure and mystery. It’s also got a main theme of gaining knowledge, which fits perfectly within dark academia.

Shakespeare Saved My Life

This is a nonfiction book, which follows an English teacher who goes into a high security prison to teach Shakespeare to the male prisoners. It examines how classic literature (in this case, Shakespeare’s plays) can impact our modern life, even hundreds of years after they were written.

It’s a moving book, and one perfect for dark academia because of it’s ode to old literature.

Gaudy Night (Lord Peter Wimsey, #12)

You’re probably sick of me talking about this book, but it’s so perfect for dark academia! It’s set at Oxford, and includes highly intellectual people debating different topics. Besides the murder mystery itself, the characters are exceptional.

However, keep in mind this book is in the middle of a series, though you probably don’t need to read any of the other books to understand what’s going on. But reading Strong Poison and Have His Carcass will help to understand the two main characters better.

The Resurrectionist: The Lost Work of Dr. Spencer Black

This is a horror fiction, told mostly in the form of a diary of a man who experiments on raising the dead. It’s got this combination between biology and horror. This is especially a perfect book to read this October, as it’s got this literary Halloween feel about it.

It dabbles in some science (fictional and real), and the art has a very good dark academia feel to it.

The Alienist (Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, #1)

This book is not only a great mystery filled with historical detail, but it also looks at the early history of psychology, as ideas about this practice were just being theorized. It’s a dark book, which deals with topics like child prostitution and child abuse, but if you can stomach that it’s well worth the read.

A Taste for Monsters

This is another murder mystery which follows the real life Elephant Man, Joseph Merrick, and his fictional maid who begins reading books to him. It blends fiction with history as Jack the Ripper begins to kill and they rush to solve the case. It’s got a dark feel, vintage aura, and elements of classic literature.

Have you read any of these books? Do any of them look interesting to you? 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

4 thoughts on “Amazing Lesser Known Dark Academia Books

  1. I’ve only read The Alienist, back when it first came out. I remember enjoying it very much. It was dark, but not gratuitously so.

    The Resurrectionist looks like fun.

    Liked by 1 person

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