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The Caucasian Chalk Circle

1999
Author:

Bertolt Brecht
Translated by Eric Bentley

The Caucasian Chalk Circle

The definitive edition, with a new introduction.

Few authors have had such a dramatic effect as Bertolt Brecht. His work has helped to shape a generation of writers, theatergoers, and thinkers. The Caucasian Chalk Circle is a parable inspired by the tale of King Solomon and a child claimed by two mothers. Eric Bentley’s translations are widely viewed as the standard renderings of Brecht’s work, ensuring that future generations of readers will come in close contact with the work of a playwright who introduced a new way of thinking about the theater.

Few authors have had as dramatic an effect as Bertolt Brecht. His work has helped to shape a generation of writers, theatergoers, and thinkers, and his plays are studied worldwide as texts that changed contemporary theater.

The Caucasian Chalk Circle is a parable inspired by the Chinese play Chalk Circle. Written at the close of World War II, the story is set in the Caucasus Mountains of Georgia, and retells the tale of King Solomon and a child claimed by two mothers. A chalk circle is metaphorically drawn around a society misdirected in its priorities. Brecht’s statements about class are cloaked in the innocence of a fable that whispers insistently to the audience.

No translations of Brecht’s work are as reliable and compelling as Eric Bentley’s. These versions are widely viewed as the standard renderings of Brecht’s work, ensuring that future readers will continue to come in close contact with this playwright who introduced a new way of thinking about the theater.

The Caucasian Chalk Circle

Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) is perhaps Germany’s best-known playwright. His social critiques, including The Good Woman of Setzuan, Mother Courage and Her Children, and The Threepenny Opera, resonate with modern audiences and continue to be frequently performed.

Eric Bentley, one of the foremost authorities on the modern theater, is a recognized playwright, critic, and scholar, and a longtime intimate of Brecht. His most recent book is Bentley on Brecht, and his translation of The Good Woman of Setzuan is also available from the University of Minnesota Press.

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