Crist taught at Columbia for more than 50 years. To everyone else, she will be remembered for her work. But for a few of us, who sat smoking with her in that overheated office, or sharing truffles on Tuesday afternoons, she will be remembered for her refusal to accept any work from us but our absolute best. We tried to give it, half from terror at the insults she’d invent if we didn’t. But mostly because you knew that she’d never accepted any less than that from herself.

Hazel Sheffield is a former assistant editor at CJR. Follow her on Twitter @hazelsheffield.