Monday, March 27, 2017

RIP Linda Bridges

Linda Bridges died on Saturday night.  She was an institution at National Review.  Here are a couple paragraphs from her obituary that give a sketch of her relationship with NR:

While a junior in college, she dared write to National Review to point out and quibble with what she considered to be a grammatical error that had been used repeatedly in the magazine. Her letter intrigued none other than William F. Buckley himself, who responded to her letter, requesting that she send additional samples of her writing. She did, and was offered a position as a summer assistant. He so approved of her style, her extensive vocabulary and inveterate skill at word-smithing, and her content (Linda was a life-long conservative) that he quickly offered her a job at the magazine upon her graduation. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Linda moved to New York City immediately upon graduation from USC, and entered the employ of National Review as a contributing writer/journalist. Over the years, she rose through the ranks to Senior Editor, and finally to Editor-at-Large at the magazine. She also served as a personal editor for her mentor and father-figure, William F. Buckley, from 2004 until his death in 2008, organizing and preparing for publication his many writings and memoirs. Among the books she authored over the years were The Art of Persuasion: A National Review Rhetoric for Writers; Strictly Right: William F. Buckley and the American Conservative Movement; and Athwart History: Half a Century of Polemics, Animadversions, and Illuminations — A William F. Buckley Jr. Omnibus.
Read the rest to learn even more about the adventure that was her life.

I didn't know Linda very well, but I was lucky enough to have her edit some of my pieces for NRO over the years.  She edited my very first piece for NRO, and some of my favorites, including pieces on enlightened populism, the limitations of Herbert Marcuse, the importance of defending liberty and union, and how to create an opportunity-oriented immigration system.

With an almost Houdini-like ability to get the knots out of prose, Linda had a wonderful ear for language and an amazing empathy as an editor.  She treated your work respectfully, and part of that respect was trying to help you make your points as eloquently as possible.  Her love of words shone through in her work.  I was--and am--grateful for her own efforts to improve my work.

Because Linda was a writer as well as an editor, I thought I'd include a link here to the last piece she wrote for NRO, a substantive reflection on World War I, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien.

Linda's faith was incredibly important to her, and I hope that she knows the comfort of the Lord who watches over us all.

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