Interesting and disappointing about Titus Alone.
I said child-like to avoid saying childish, but I agree it wasn't much of an improvement. I just didn't feel like searching for the proper word at the moment. What is the word I want to describe fantasy that involves fairies and dragons?
What I believe Nabokov wanted to say was that novels are not about the 'real' world, not commentaries on the real world, and never, in the truest since of the word, realistic, never really true to life. He offers the example of Emma Bovary riding a horse for the first time and not getting tired.
Still, as you say, it is useful to label some novels as fantasy. I thought i understood what was meant by that: fairies and dragons and such. How can we say what it is that makes Titus Groan fantasy? There is something otherworldly about it? That doesn't seem to distinguish it from some other kinds of fantasy or magic realism. In fact, there are some 'realistic' novels with much less plausible events than Titus.
Going back to the weirdness of the characters, I reflect that Dickens is more fantastical than I'd thought.
You know what this might remind me of more than anything is Alice in Wonderland, although, that's of course, much more fanciful. Hmm.
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