Brenda Webster

Brenda Webster was born in New York City, and educated at Swarthmore, Barnard, Columbia, and Berkeley, where she earned her Ph.D. Novelist, playwright, critic, and translator, she is also President of PEN West American Center. Webster divides her time between Berkeley and Rome.

She is the author of five novels, After Auschwitz, Sins of the Mothers, Paradise Farm, The Beheading Game (which was a finalist for the Northern California Book Award), and Vienna Triangle. Her memoir, the Last Good Freudian received considerable critical praise. Her translation of Edith Bruck's memoir, Lettere alla Madre, was published by the Modern Language Association in 2007.

Additionally, Webster has written two controversial and oft-anthologized critical studies, Yeats: A Psychoanalytic Study (Stanford) and Blake's Prophetic Psychology (Macmillan). She translated poetry from the Italian for The Other Voice (Norton) and The Penguin Book of Women Poets. She is co-editor of Hungry for Light: The Journal of Ethel Schwabacher, which reveals the life her mother of an abstract expressionist painter.

After Auschwitz, a Love Story

Brenda will be reading from After Auschwitz in Seattle Sep 23



Auschwitz-web-cover

"When we're young we tend to think of memory as something belonging to us. There are good memories and bad ones, but aside from forgetting names occasionally, it is hard to imagine what ceasing to rely on your memory means. My mind still functions enough for me to be frightened and feel diminished. Someday, I hope not too soon, I'll cease to be alarmed...." Renzo, from After Auschwitz

Two of the 20th century's terrible A's collide in this powerful novel: Alzheimer's Disease and the Auschwitz death camp. Brenda Webster brings to bear her considerable knowledge of Jewish and Italian history and culture, personal acquaintance with the families of luminaries like Primo Levi, and a lifetime of psychological insight as she observes the intellectual decline of Renzo, a once brilliant writer and filmmaker. The novel is set entirely in Rome in 2010, and benefits from the author's comfortable familiarity with the city's haunts, both hidden and famous. Renzo, aware that he is slipping deeper and deeper into the haze of Alzheimer's, keeps a journal in which he grapples with his complicated marriage to Hannah, who survived the death camps as a child and went on to become a chronicler of that experience. Renzo knows how painful it is for Hannah to lose yet another loved one - himself - as he chronicles his own failing grip on reality. This story of enduring love-a love that makes the pain bearable- inspires hope where there appears to be despair, and allows humor to leaven the loaf of existence. His rich memories of the artistic and intellectual currents of the 20th century begin to fade. Highly lyrical passages elucidate for the reader both his sophisticated anguish and his child-like wonder. $16.95. Original trade paperback, 160 pages. ISBN 978-1-60940-359-1 (Wings Press, 03/03/14)

Vienna Triangle



A young woman named Kate explores her historical connection to the development of Freudian theory and the early beginnings of psychoanalysis in this mystery rooted in the past. Based on real facts concerning the pivotal figures in the development of modern psychology, the complicated lives of Sigmund Freud, his colleague Helene Deutsch, and his rival Victor Tausk are carefully reconstructed to show how their interpersonal intricacies may have led to conspiracy and deceit in the writing of early 20th-century history. When Kate realizes that Tausk was her grandfather, she begins to uncover the details around his mysterious suicide. Only as Kate uncovers the truth is she able to make important decisions about her own future.

Paperback, 240 pages. ISBN-13: 9780916727505 (Wings Press, January 2009)

Criticism

Yeats, a Psychoanalytic Study

One of the best books yet written on Yeats. -- Harold Bloom

This extraordinary study traces the complex connections between the traumatic memories of Yeats' childhood and recurrent themes in his work. A consistent, impressively documented, and wholly original view of the workings of the poet's mind.

Paperback, 256pp. ISBN: 0595007937 (iUniverse.com, Incorporated, October 2000) Hardcover, 246pp. ISBN: 0804708460 (Stanford University Press, June 1973)

Blake's Prophetic Psychology

Hardcover: 325 pages
Publisher: Univ of Georgia Pr; First Edition (February 1984)
ISBN-10: 0820306584