Brenda Webster was born in New York City and educated at Swarthmore, Columbia, and Berkeley, where she earned her Ph.D. She is a freelance writer, critic and translator who splits her time between Berkeley and Rome, and she is the current president of PEN American Center West. Webster has written two controversial and oft-anthologized critical studies, Yeats: A Psychoanalytic Study (Stanford) and Blake's Prophetic Psychology (Macmillan), and translated poetry from the Italian for The Other Voice (Norton) and The Penguin Book of Women Poets. She is co-editor of the journals of the abstract expressionist painter (and Webster's mother) Ethel Schwabacher, Hungry for Light: The Journal of Ethel Schwabacher (Indiana 1993). She is the author of two previous novels, Sins of the Mothers (Baskerville, 1993) and Paradise Farm (SUNY, 1999), and a memoir, The Last Good Freudian (Holmes and Meier, 2000). The Modern Language Association recently accepted for publication Webster's translation of Edith Bruck's Holocaust novel Lettera all Madre. She is currently working on a novel about the tragic death of Freud's most brilliant disciple.