Godel, Escher, Bach

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Gödel, Escher, Bach - an Endless Braided Band , GEB for short , is a book by Douglas R. Hofstadter from 1979. The original title is: Gödel, Escher, Bach - An Eternal Golden Braid .


The German translation appeared in 1985. Hofstadter sees certain self-referential patterns, what he calls strange loops , as the key to understanding phenomena such as being or consciousness . He presents these patterns in his book.

His systematics combines the mathematical work of Kurt Gödel with the artistic illustrations by MC Escher and the music of Johann Sebastian Bach . He relates these creative works to computer science , such as self-referential computer programs, the so-called quines , and the structures of DNA , hence molecular biology .

Each chapter is preceded by a short dialogue with the main characters Achilles and Theo Schildkröte , in which the theme of the chapter is illustrated in a playful way. This happens through the events described, but also partly through literary stylistic devices. One of the dialogues is a reprint of Lewis Carroll's text What the Tortoise Said to Achilles .

The book became a bestseller in Germany and was number 1 on the Spiegel bestseller list for 19 weeks in 1985 . In 1980, it won the Pulitzer Prize in the General Non-Fiction category and the American Book Award in the Science Hardback category.


  • Douglas R. Hofstadter: Gödel, Escher, Bach. An Eternal Golden Braid . Basic Books, New York NY 1979, ISBN 0-465-02685-0 .
  • Douglas R. Hofstadter: Gödel, Escher, Bach. An Eternal Golden Braid . (Anniversary edition with a new foreword by the author). Vintage Books, New York NY 1989, ISBN 0-394-75682-7 .
  • Douglas R. Hofstadter: Gödel, Escher, Bach - an endless braided band. Translation: Philipp Wolf-Windegg and Hermann Feuersee. 18th edition. Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-608-94442-6 (American English: Gödel, Escher, Bach. An Eternal Golden Braid .).


  1. This capitalization corresponds to the title of the German first edition.