University of Notre Dame

Imaginary Worlds and Fantastic Travels

Course Number: LLRO 13186-3
Instructor: Sabrina Ferri

This course focuses on the geography of imagined places and made-up fantasy worlds in literature and film. The seminar will be organized around thematic clusters, such as the worlds of the afterlife, utopian and dystopian lands, cities of the future, enchanted gardens and descriptions of unexplored countries. We will see how each theme has developed over time, discuss the reasons and ideas behind each author’s creation, examine the meanings associated with imaginary places, and try to understand what an imaginary place tells us about the real world. Some of the questions that we will raise are: What is the significance of geographical imagination? What are the assumptions and intentions of the authors in developing fantasy worlds? What do imaginary places reveal about the social and historical contexts against which they are set? What is the connection between literary creation and geographical invention? Requirements include one oral presentation, two written assignments, and a final creative project in which each student will contribute to the creation of an imaginary world developed by the class.