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Dark Academia Parody

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Dark Academia Parody |

I wrote my book about a detective philosopher at University before Dark Academia became popular. I published it while the Dark Academia trope was popular on social media during the pandemic, though I didn´t know it. During that time, I neither had an Instagram-Account nor TikTok or whatever. What I had was my imagination and therefore some strange ideas about things that could happen if you study something peculiar like, let´s say … philosophy! I wanted to study this because it sounds exciting enough to write stories about it. So I decided to start my studies in philosophy and to write exaggerated philosophical mysteries.

My main idea for my book consisted in the vague idea of philosophy slams where the winner must drink a (fake!) cup of hemlock. I read about it in a philosophy calender, but never experienced such an event at university. As an author, my question was something like `What if the cup of hemlock is actually poisonous, and the main character is a young philosophy student who is the prime suspect?`

So I developed a campus crime story. Somehow (while still not knowing this trope) I mentioned a lot of Dark Academia stuff like vintage outfits, tea, classic books like `Crime and Punishment´, a sleepwalker, a philosophical conspiracy, a historic graveyard and so on. Some anecdotes are concerning books, songs and even pictures, like Raphaels' „The School of Athens“ or Goyas's „The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters“.

So it could have been dark academia.

Still, there was a problem. Well, I liked the aesthetic and mysterious atmosphere, but not the cruel aspects. I read some books, like „The Secret History“ by Donna Tartt and „The Oxford Murders“ by Guillermo Martinez – I was rather annoyed by the over-exaggerated plot and disagreeable protagonists in such mysteries. This was not what I wanted to write. Instead, I added some untypical characters to my own book: Luise, a Climate Science student who talks a lot about important issues like the climate crisis, feminism and pacifism, Delphine, a witty professor who joined the protests of 1968 in Paris as well as two not-so-privileged-but-smart house-painters. So my protagonist, Nikodemos, is confronted with some more realistic people as well as with crazy people like wannabe-genius professor Heidesand, his mischievous assistant or a fellow student named Elenore, who is … well … a little bit lunatic.

So what I have finally written is a Dark Academia parody without knowing the `original genre` to exist (the books I read seemed to me like random mysteries within an academic setting). Even my worst antagonists are more sarcastic than evil. The University of Constance is also somehow a satirical setting for such a story, because it is such a modern (not so mysterious) university.

My conclusion is that I am (even in theory) far too pacifistic to write crime stories and that I have written an excellent dark academia parody without even knowing that the dark academia trope is a current internet trend.

© Anna Theresa Schreiber 2022-10-07


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