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The Journalist And The Purgerer

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CHARMED, I’M SO SURE Malcolm

This morning, the Gossip Girl franchise scored the kind of fan Dan Humphries loves and Blair Waldorf doesn’t give a shit about: ultra highbrow, literary luminary Janet Malcolm, who loves her some Gossip Girl books like Chuck Bass loves hos.

In Malcolm’s review of the series (in this week’s New Yorker—yes, the New Yorker), no esteemed writer is too esteemed to be above a comparison with Cecily von Ziegesar, the author of the GG franchise, who, if you didn’t know, scribbles like some combination of Nabokov, Thackery, Waugh, and Tolstoy. Says Malcolm (apparently one of the staffers over whom editor David Remnick can exercise no control; see also John McPhee talking about his grandchildren): “The way von Ziegesar implicates us in her empathic examination of youth’s callousness is the Waughish achievement of these strange, complicated books.” And, “Nate is a kind of Vronsky manqué, with a grande-dame mother, like Vronsky’s, and a Navy-captain father who is ‘a master sailor and extremely handsome, but a little lacking in the hugs department. (Too bad Tolstoy didn’t think of a father like that for V.)” Oh, snap Tolstoy, you’ve been served.

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