FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.
Caucasian Chalk Circle has been added to your Cart
+ CDN$ 6.49 shipping
Used: Good | Details
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Our books ship from the USA and delivery time is 2 to 3 weeks.  Minimal damage to cover and binding. Pages show light use. With pride from Motor City. All books guaranteed.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Caucasian Chalk Circle Paperback – Nov 15 1999

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

See all 22 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
CDN$ 12.91
CDN$ 7.61 CDN$ 0.01

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • Caucasian Chalk Circle
  • +
  • Mother Courage and Her Children
Total price: CDN$ 28.61
Buy the selected items together

No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press; 1 edition (Nov. 15 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0816635285
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816635283
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 1.8 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #232,077 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  •  Would you like to update product info, give feedback on images, or tell us about a lower price?

Product Description


'an adept new translation by Alistair Beaton' Dominic Maxwell, The Times, 2.10.09 'The Caucasian Chalk Circle, written in 1944 while he was in exile from Germany, gives some epic illumination to socialist ideas about ownership and injustice. But more than that it's a story about love winning out over endemic corruption' Dominic Maxwell, The Times, 2.10.09 --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) is acknowledged as one of the great dramatists whose plays, work with the Berliner Ensemble and critical writings have had a considerable influence on the theatre. His landmark plays include "The Threepenny Opera", "Fear and Misery of the Third Reich", "The Life of Galileo, " "Mother Courage and Her Children "and "The Caucasian Chalk Circle."

Eric Bentley is the author of "Bentley on Brecht", "What Is Theater?", and other volumes about drama. Born in England in 1916, he was inducted into the American Hall of Fame in 1998. He lives in New York City.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See both customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
It's popular now-a-days to call communism "out of touch" and socialism "out of style." Brecht's question, then: Who should own anything? Should possession be nine-tenths of the law? Or should the laws of ownership remain an open-ended affair? -- could be called a foregone conclusion.

Woe to the foregone conclusion, then. Its trial date is ever on the way.

Laughably, the Helms-Burton bill, recently signed into law by Pres. Bill Clinton, is a giggle back to Brecht's discussion. And a silly one. One should think that were the United States to be in the business of giving back land "once stolen," that the Navajo, Sioux, Chippewa, et. al. would be first in line.

Not so!

Apparently, Cuba's land belongs not to its current owners, but to its capitalists of 40 years hence. Oh, silliness. Oh, amusement.

So ask Brecht's question, then, not as a socialist, a communist or a red. Ask it as a human being. To whom does anything belong? What is belonging? What is ownership? Who owns anything? When - and why - does ownership occasionally turn on its own head?
One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My book arrived much quicker than I expected. It also came in perfect condition however, the cover and subsequently content is slightly different than that of my class
It is a different version, but similar product and the moral of the story is still reached!
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa3bc9cc0) out of 5 stars 7 reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa3920774) out of 5 stars "Almost" an age of justice March 17 2005
By A.J. - Published on
Format: Paperback
Brecht's "The Caucasian Chalk Circle," written in self-imposed exile towards the end of World War II, is a story within a play, in which a bard, or singer, interrupts a group of Caucasian farmers arguing over ownership of land that has been ravaged by Nazi tanks and entertains them with a relevant tale of yore. In a city called Grusinia, the Governor is executed in a coup and his wife flees for her life, abandoning their baby son Michael, who is picked up by a humble kitchen maid named Grusha. Having recently betrothed herself to a soldier named Simon who is away on duty, she sets out on a cross-country journey with the infant to get help from her brother, a farmer in a distant village.

Lavrenti, her brother, suggests she get married immediately to avoid suspicion that the baby is hers out of wedlock, and the most available candidate is a local wretched peasant. After living with this man for a couple of years, Grusha is apprehended by soldiers who have come to take young Michael, the sole heir of the deposed Governor's estate, back to Grusinia. The case of Michael's custody, contested by the Governor's wife against Grusha, is brought to trial, where the judge, a drunk named Azdak whose unofficial appointment to this position is a farce, decrees that the boy will be placed inside a circle drawn with chalk on the courtroom floor, and that the woman who is able to pull him out of the circle is the real mother. (Study the judge's exact words when you read this.)

Although the story is of medieval Chinese origin, Brecht's play is a sort of refashioning of the Biblical anecdote about Solomon and expands the idea by supplying a whole backstory to the women's argument. Solomon's judgment is accepted because his wisdom is universally considered to be impeccable, but what of a man like Azdak who functions on whim more than on wisdom? The ending is subtly brilliant in the sense that the outcome of the contest is subject to semantic debate (whether you think the judgment is fair or logical or contradictory depends on how closely you read the judge's words), but also in the question of irony or sincerity in the suggestion that true justice will be conferred by nature rather than by man.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa3920a74) out of 5 stars A PARABLE ON PROPERTY June 15 2007
By Alfred Johnson - Published on
Format: Paperback
One of the master communist playwright Bertolt Brecht's strengths as an artist was the ability to set up a moral dilemma and work it out to a conclusion, not always a satisfactory one, by play's end. This is unusual in a seemingly orthodox follower of the old Stalinist' socialist realist' cultural program. This work nevertheless permitted Brecht to address an age-old question about the nature of property ownership, extending it from its natural and historic setting in land and chattels to the question of personal human ownership.

The question posed here is whether a child abandoned by its natural mother then found and raised by another women should go to the former or that latter. Nice dilemma, right? But Brecht, as seem in Mother Courage and other parables, is not above cutting right to the bone on moral questions. What makes this work a cut above some of Brecht's more didactic plays is the way that he weaves the parable about the odd resolution of an ancient Chinese property dispute and places that `wisdom' in context of a then current dispute between two Soviet-era communes.

In the ancient dispute the judge who is called upon to render judgment, using the circle as a medium to resolve the dispute, seems to be Solomonic but is really a buffoon. This is pure Brechtian irony. This says as much about Brecht attitude toward property as it does about the old time Chinese justice system. The question of property rights as presented by Brecht and their value as a societal glue is also something the reader or viewer of this play should think about as well.
HASH(0xa3dd948c) out of 5 stars Great play! June 21 2013
By StriveForExcellence - Published on
Format: Paperback
The Caucasian Chalk Circle is a very entertaining and enjoyable play to read or perform, whilst also containing attitudes and ideologies to analyze. It's a great read for its own sake, but can also easily be used to teach literature in a classroom. A great play!
HASH(0xa3bc15c4) out of 5 stars Five Stars March 5 2016
By Jeff Walsh - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
Great price and a good read!
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa3bb16e4) out of 5 stars Easy cheap reading for your theater class Oct. 2 2013
By Karen Toledo - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Nice cheap method to pick up the reading for the theater history class. It's used but it's was still in a shape that will last you. And it came on time depending on your delivery method.