What makes the imaginary world created by a novel feel “real”? What aspects of narrative in any medium contribute to our sense of being immersed in a coherent and convincing universe? From the Victorians who addressed letters to Mr. Sherlock Holmes at 221B Baker Street, to fans of a Middle Earth that now encompasses multiple books and films, readers have always been drawn to narratives that create a place that seems large and vivid enough to enter. In this course, we will look at novels from the 18th century through the present that create compelling fictional worlds, comparing them to a few works in contemporary media that cultivate a similar sense of immersion in the worlds they represent. Works to be studied will include Defoe, Robinson Crusoe; Eliot, Middlemarch; Joyce, Dubliners; Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring; Herbert, Dune; the film, The Matrix, and television episodes of Battlestar Galactica.