Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Caucasian Chalk Circle” as Want to Read:
The Caucasian Chalk Circle
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Caucasian Chalk Circle

3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,702 Ratings  ·  99 Reviews

Writing in exile in the USA during the Second World War, Brecht borrowed from an ancient Chinese story-echoed in the Judgement of Solomon-in which two women both claim the same child. Brecht's subversion of this tale provides a parable which seems to say that resources should go to those in whose hands they will be most productive. Thanks to the rascally judge, Azdak, one

Paperback, 144 pages
Published August 1st 1994 by Arcade Publishing (first published January 1st 1945)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jan 15, 2016 Anna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Απλό, μεστό, λιτό, κατανοητό, αριστούργημα!!
May 07, 2010 Boorrito rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays, fiction, germany
What I learnt from this book: rich people suck, poor people suck, war sucks, society sucks, socialism isn't bad and fruit farms are the future.
Nov 14, 2015 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition


Tackling a Brecht script takes a lot of patience and time! His writing is complex and fluid and yet the embedded symbolism takes time to unravel and reflect on!

This is one play I would love to see on the stage!
Eski zamanların birinde Devlet Tiyatroları genelde başarılı kadrolarla iyi oyunları sahnelermiş. Cemre de bu zamanların birinde Erzurum DT’den izlemiş Kafkas Tebeşir Dairesi’ni, çok da sevmiş. Bir gün bir sahafta görmüş oyunu, hemen almış. Bugün de okumuş, kim bilir belki de izlemekten zevk aldığından okumaktan da bir o kadar zevk almış.

Erzurum DT demişken, yaklaşık bir ay kadar önce Erzurum DT binasında çıkan yangına ne kadar üzüldüğümü belirtmem lazım. Erzurum DT, başarılı işler sahneye koyan
Ana Sanz
I finished reading this a couple weeks ago for my Theatre class and yes, it's that genius Brecht whom everyone has heard of yet no one quite understands. Brecht's works and techniques aiming to completely and utterly emotionally isolate the audience of his plays create confusion as to how the characters should act or whether they should act at all and they SHOULD. The Caucasian Chalk Cirle threads together two conflicts regarding the ownership of farmed land after the second world war, and uses ...more
Jan 02, 2016 Rhys rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps the best Brecht play I have read so far (though they have all been good). There is something particularly engaging about the two main characters, Grusha and Azdak. Although the message of the play is supposedly very straightforwardly "Socialist" I always feel that Brecht is never quite so obviously simple as that. The writing is amazing and the songs always add to the impetus rather than detract from it.
Nickolas the Kid
May 31, 2015 Nickolas the Kid rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theater
Η ιστορία του βασιλιά Σολομώντα και των 2 γυναικων τοποθετημένη στην περίοδο του τριαντακονταετή πολέμου και δοσμένη αριστοτεχνικά απο τον Μπρεχτ... Το βιβλίο περιλαμβάνει και μια διασκεδαστική ιστορία "Τραυματισμένος Σωκράτης"!!
Tasniem Sami
لماذا يكون التغريب حاجة اساسية في المسرح الملحمي ؟
التغريب مطلوب لجعل الاشياء مفهومة لانه عندنا تكون الاشياء واضحة بذاتها لا تكون هناك حاجة للفهم ؛ القاء ضوء الفهم علي ما يبدو "طبيعياً" فبهذا يمكن لقوانين العلة والمعلول ان تتضح حيث لابد للشخصيات ان تتصرف كما كانت تتصرف ، وكان عليها في الوقت ذاته ان تقدر علي التصرف بطريقة اخري
عقد بريشت مقارنة بين المتفرج في المسرح الدرمي والتفرج في المسرح الملحمي
المتفرج في المسرح الدرامي يقول :نعم هذا ما شعرت به هكذا انا .ذلك طبيعي.ان عذاب هذا الانسان يهزني لان
I saw a production of this but I have not read it yet. Brecht's ideas are abstract and they kept me wondering about the fairy-tale like quality. Grusha, a servant working for a snobbish aristocratic woman (Natella), cares for the child (Michael) who Natella left behind. Grusha is selfless and she gives everything she can to him. When the case is brought to court with the judge named Azdak, the chalk circle is drawn to put the child in. Brecht's ideas intrigued me here. Grusha and Natella are ask ...more
Sep 27, 2015 Eadweard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Taking place right after WWII, in the Caucasus region, but most of it actually being told as a story within the play (which is set a few centuries in the past?). While the actual play is inspired by an old chinese drama.
Ahmad Sharabiani
Der kaukasische kreidekreis=The caucsian chalk circle, Bertolt Brecht
عنوان: دایره گچی قفقازی؛ اثر: برتولت برشت؛ برگزدان از متن آلمانی: مجید سمندریان؛ تنظیم اشعار: فروغ فرخزاد؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، گام، چاپ سوم 1335، در 131 ص، موضوع: نمایشنامه های نویسندگان آلمانی قرن 20 م

عنوان: دایره گچی قفقازی؛ اثر: برتولت برشت؛ مترجم: م. امین موید؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، رز، چاپ دوم 1351، در 176 ص، فروست: در قلمرو نمایش، موضوع: نمایشنامه های نویسندگان آلمانی قرن 20 م

ماجرای همان داوری سلیمان نبی ست در باره کودک و دو
Feb 17, 2015 Maxwell rated it it was ok
Shelves: i-own-it, drama, 2015
This was a very strange play. It follows the old story of two women forced to prove they're the mother of a child by fighting over it, and the true mother won't harm the child. It was a sort of play within a play, with a chorus of singers and poetry woven into it, which I enjoyed, but it seemed to be very disjointed plot wise. I'll be interested to discuss this in class to hopefully illuminate my understanding.
Jimmakos Gavagias
Nov 13, 2015 Jimmakos Gavagias rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is amazing the ability that some writers have to compress in a very short story a very strong message. It's also a good reminder of what writting is,simple things,powerfull message,unexpected ending. You don't need anything else no fancy writting no blood no sex. PS. In this adition there is also a short story called the injury of Sokrates. Brecht succeds to make us understand that you can win and be lost and you can lose and be a winner.
Vernon Goddard
I once acted in a powerful production of Brecht's satirical masterpiece in, of all places, Kampala, Uganda

I suppose the play can be summarised as follows: The city burns in the heat of civil war and a servant girl sacrifices everything to protect an abandoned child. But when peace is finally restored, the boy's mother comes to claim him. Calling upon the ancient tradition of the Chalk Circle, a comical judge sets about resolving the dispute. But in a culture of corruption and deception, who wins
It's funny and intriguing as a story. It reminded me of One thousand Nights and Night, with is peculiar settings, old strange stories and embedded wisdom. A nice rich play.
Jul 01, 2015 Verena rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-for-uni
Mr Brecht & I certainly never gonna be friends.
Czarny Pies
Oct 21, 2014 Czarny Pies rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone looking for a light night at the theatre
Recommended to Czarny by: Everyone. Brecht was idolized in the 1970s and and 1980s.
Shelves: german-lit
Bertolt Brecht considered himself to be a great author which is not terribly surprising as most people are at least partially self-delusion. What is more surprising is how many people agreed with Brecht's high opinion of himself during the middle decades of the Twentieth Century.

In fact Brecht had a wicked sense of humour and a great instincts on how to use the space on the stage to best effect. As a result he produced a number of highly entertaining plays that had audiences laughing in the fou
Aaaah, Herr Brecht, ich weiß, was Sie mit diesem Stück tun. Und trotzdem: ich falle darauf hinein, immer wieder.

Ich liebe die Figuren, die jemand, die auch nur ein wenig mit der Folklore der ehemaligen Sowjetunion vertraut ist, sofort kulturell zuordnen kann. Und ich liebe diesen Hintergrund, so wunderbar eingearbeitet. Und die Sprache, natürlich die Sprache.

(Wo kann ich jetzt das Stück bitte richtig gut umgesetzt auf der Bühne sehen? Wird es überhaupt noch gespielt?)
Oct 06, 2014 Realini rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The Caucasian Chalk Circle by Bertold Brecht
Outside my Chalk, rather limited Circle of interest

For some yet undetermined reason, Brecht proves too much for my limited attention span.
But he will help me establish a record, I guess- my shortest note yet.
For, except that I did not like it and could not keep my attention focused on the play, what else there may be to say.
Of course, I could delve into my usual descriptions of what happened to me and why I could not listen to the play, and then specul
Nandasiri Wanninayaka
I read the English translation of Caucasian Chalk Circle again recently. I had read the Sinhala adaptation done by Henry Jayasena, the Hunuwataye Kathawa as a schoolboy as it was in the syllabus. Then I read it again for Advanced Level English literature in English in 1998. This time I read it just for fun. I have watched Henry Jayasena’s drama on TV. Henry Jayasena was excellent as Azdak. I wish Grusha’s character was done by a younger actress.

I am yet to watch an English language version. I di
Mar 03, 2012 Alicia rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I am, clearly, missing something. The only thing reading this play gave me was a headache. War sucks, but I think that has always been a given. I didn't nee this play to know that. Also, one play is enough of a challenge without the play within a play debacle.
Abraham Tsoukalidis
Ένα γλυκό θεατρικό του μεγάλου αλλά και ρομαντικά στρατευμένου Μπρεχτ για τον οποίο εύστοχα έγραψαν: “Σ' έναν κόσμο, όπου θριαμβεύει η αδικία, η αλαζονεία της εξουσίας και του πλούτου, σε μια εποχή σκληρή και δύσκολη όπως αυτή που ζούμε σήμερα, ο Μπρεχτ, παραμένει μέγας ποιητής – οραματιστής και μέσα από τη θεατρική πράξη μεταφέρει την πίστη του στον θρίαμβο της Δικαιοσύνης και άρα της Ανθρωπότητας.”

“Πως ότι υπάρχει εδώ θα ανήκει σε εκείνους
που είναι καλο
Kira (Budge) Brighton
I like this, but the judge character makes me uneasy. It's all so strange.

*Read for school junior year college*
May 22, 2008 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Teaching in Modern Drama
Johann Guenther
May 15, 2012 Johann Guenther rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
BRECHT, Bertolt: „Der kaukasische Kreidekreis“, Berlin 1973
Bei diesem Buch des suhrkamp Verlages habe ich eines gelernt: zuerst nachschauen, ob das Buch alle Seiten hat. Es ist mir vorher noch nie passiert, aber bei Seite 112 ist das Buch aus und es sind die ersten 16 Seiten nochmals gedruckt.
Das ist sehr ärgerlich. Man liest ein Buch. Es ist spannend – ja, es ist wirklich spannend -, und wenn der entscheidende Moment kommt in dem Fall die wichtige Gerichtsverhandlung ist es mitten im Satz aus.
I read this back when i was in HSC, about a million years ago. It was interesting to come back to it after all that time.[return][return]Way back then, we were told that it was about land ownership and socialism, but it turns out that that's not the case. In fact, to quote the rather helpful introductory comments by the legendary Eric Bentley: "The Caucasian Chalk Circle is not an inquiry into the dispute over ownership presented in the prologue but a celebration of the assignment of the land to ...more
May 17, 2013 Marie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: absurd
Soviet landlords and workers argue about who's the right owner of the land. A marxist discussion which the workers will win in the end. To pronise us the illusion of an objective topic solved in an objective manner, Bretch employs a play inside the play technique with roots in the ancient chinese legend of the chalk circle, which is a lot like its widely known counterpart in the judeochristian tradition: the story of King Salomon.

It's a sugar coated version, Marx'd up version of The Augsburg Cha
Mar 26, 2007 علی rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
دایره گچی قفقازی از مهم ترین نمایش نامه های تیاتر حماسی برشت و یکی از آخرین آنها در دوران هجرت او در آمریکاست. در این اثر برشت از تیاتر در تیاتر هم بهره برده است. واقعه که در انتهای جنگ دوم جهانی در شوروی رخ می دهد، توسط یک گروه دوره گرد نوازنده و خواننده روایت می شود. هسته ی اصلی واقعه در طول ده ها صحنه و واقعه ی دیگر، بر سر تصاحب یک طفل می گذرد، و کشمکش میان مادر اصلی و کسی که طفل را نجات داده و با مرارت بزرگ کرده است. کودتایی در منطقه روی داده، فرمانداری از کار برکنار شده، گردنش را زده اند. ه ...more
«من برشت....
برای برقراری عدل در جهان بسیار اندیشه کردم. راه های چندی را آزمودم، که در پس آن بی راهه نمودار شد. دیده ام که رادمردان جاودانه ی تاریخ برای بشر کوشیده اند. با یک دایره ی ساده گچی، من دوستدار بشر بودم و از حامیان هنر، اما اندیشه هایم حتی با تمهید هنر نیز در تثبیت عدالت بشری کارساز نشد و ظلم هم چنان باقی ماند و زمانه عدل را دوباره به ظلم درآمیخت و سرنگون کرد...
من امروز در زیر خاک طنین صدای خود را در انعکاس بمب نا سالم و فریاد مظلومان و شیمیایی شدگان می شنوم.»
Camille Dent (TheCamillion)
May 06, 2016 Camille Dent (TheCamillion) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
This play is almost too comical to take seriously. I was summarizing the plot to my dad, and when broken down into simple sentences, it's hard not to laugh at the ridiculous situations in which Brecht places the characters. It was quite enjoyable even for someone like me who could not care less about the socialist and Marxist implications that the other reviewers caught on to. It also has satirical and parabolic qualities, making it an ideal work for literature classes to study--there is somethi ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Der gestiefelte Kater
  • Biedermann und die Brandstifter
  • Draußen vor der Tür
  • The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade
  • The Hot l Baltimore
  • A Dream Play
  • Die Räuber
  • The Visit
  • The Wild Duck
  • Kaspar and Other Plays
  • Deutschland, ein Wintermärchen
  • Complete Plays and Prose
  • Stop Kiss
  • The Servant of Two Masters
  • Machinal
  • The Madwoman of Chaillot
  • Wanderer, kommst du nach Spa...
  • Three Tragedies: Blood Wedding, Yerma, Bernarda Alba
Bertolt Brecht (born Eugen Berthold Friedrich Brecht) was a German poet, playwright, and theatre director. A seminal theatre practitioner of the twentieth century, Brecht made equally significant contributions to dramaturgy and theatrical production, the latter particularly through the seismic impact of the tours undertaken by the Berliner Ensemble—the post-war theatre company operated by Brecht a ...more
More about Bertolt Brecht...

Share This Book

“Old Man, right (sighing): Death to the fascists!” 3 likes
“Girl Tractorist: As the poet Mayakovsky said: "The home of the Soviet people shall be the home of Reason"!” 1 likes
More quotes…