The Gold Bug Variations

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The Gold Bug Variations
RichardPowers TheGoldBugVariations.jpg
First edition
Author Richard Powers
Country United States
Language English
Publisher William Morrow & Company
Publication date
August 1, 1991
Media type Print (hardback & paperback)
ISBN 0-688-09891-6
OCLC 22665566
813/.54 20
LC Class PS3566.O92 G65 1991

The Gold Bug Variations is a novel by American writer Richard Powers, first released in 1991.

Plot introduction[edit]

The novel intertwines the discovery of the chemical structure of DNA with the musicality of Johann Sebastian Bach's harpsichord composition, the Goldberg Variations. A similar theme is explored by Douglas Hofstadter in his 1979 book Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid. The title also alludes to Edgar Allan Poe's 1843 short story "The Gold-Bug", which is also incorporated in the plot of the novel.[1]

The plot hinges on two love affairs: the first, set in the 1950s, between two scientists intent on discovering the mysteries of DNA; the second, in the 1980s, between two lovers who befriend the scientist featured in the novel's flashbacks.


The Gold Bug Variations has received the following awards:


  1. ^ "Genetic Coding and Aesthetic Clues: Richard Powers's 'Gold Bug Variations.'". Mosaic. Winnipeg. December 1, 1998. Retrieved 29 October 2013.   – via HighBeam (subscription required)

External links[edit]