Christa Wolf was born on March 18, 1929, in Landsberg, which is now Gorzow, Poland. Her father joined the Nazi Party and she became a member of the girls' version of the Hitler Youth. In 1949, she joined the Socialist Unity Party and studied German literature at universities in Jena and Leipzig. She wrote numerous novels during her lifetime including The Divided Heaven, The Quest for Christa T., A Model Childhood, and Cassandra. She won several awards including the Heinrich Mann Prize in 1963 and Thomas Mann Prize for literature in 2010. She died on December 1, 2011 at the age of 82.
Patricia Herminghouse is the Karl F. and Bertha A. Fuchs Professor emerita of German Studies at the University of Rochester. She has written widely on nineteenth- and twentieth-century German literature, the social contexts of women's writing, German identity, and German emigres in nineteenth-century America.