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The Gold Bug

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  8,521 ratings  ·  497 reviews
Believing William Legrand to have gone insane following an insect bite, his friend initially decries his quest for gold as the ramblings of a madman. Yet when Legrand's conviction fails to waiver, they set off on a bizarre journey, accompanied by Jupiter, Legrand's loyal and equally skeptical servant. What follows is a strange tale of coded messages, hidden treasure, and u ...more
Paperback, 124 pages
Published April 1st 2007 by Hesperus Press (first published September 13th 1842)
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Average rating 3.74  · 
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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

"The Gold-Bug," written in 1843, was one of Edgar Allen Poe's most popular stories. He actually won a $100 prize for it in a newspaper's writing contest, probably the most he was ever paid for any of his works. It tells the story of William Legrand, who finds and deciphers an old parchment with a hidden message that leads to a pirate's buried treasure -- thus taking advantage of the 19th century public's enthusiasm for both cryptography and buried treasure.

The cipher on the parchment is a relat
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
One of the best treasure hunting stories ever written! Legrand discovers a mysterious gold bug that resembles the form of a human skull. But what has the bug to do with the strange parchment and what's written in invisible ink upon it? Poe finds some strange numbers written and gives a brilliant description of how to decipher this riddle. And what about the treasure? Would you have found anthing when given that amount of information? A brilliant tale I already liked in my childhood. It hasn't lo ...more
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
With this I finish all notable works of Edgar Allan Poe and conclude my field trip into late Gothic/early horror. Works of Poe along with Algeron Blackwood remains one of the highlights of that excursions. I plan to go for another round some time in future as well as into more modern horror but not for some time.
The Gold Bug tells the adventure of Mr. William Legrand, a recluse and entomologist, who finds a gold bug which eventually leads him to a buried treasure of pirates.

He had hunted down and secured, with Jupiter's assistance, a scarabaeus which he believed to be totally new, but in respect to which he wished to have my opinion on the morrow.
"And why not tonight?" I asked, rubbing my hands over the blaze, and wishing the whole tribe of scarabaei at the devil.

The narrator is very skeptical, and
Zenki the Pixie
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing

Profession: Piracy
Favorite Animal: Haunted beetles.
Creativity: Very insecure with own drawings.
Greatest Strength: Can easily climb tulip trees.
Fatal Flaw: Doesn’t know where left eye is.
Sixth Sense: Can spot hidden drawings in parchment.
Greatest Achievement: Buried treasure up a hill and then murdered two companions
Jun 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
E.A. Poe: the original virtual reality.

I'm On the road to becoming a Poe fanatic. This guy is so freaking cool! (Please forgive me for falling into my lazy thinking vernacular.)

A man finds a golden bug and goes mad, while his doctor and slave try to help him.

This offers a pirates puzzle and explains the resolution. Is Poesque a word? I want to use it.

Poe makes me forget the world around me and literally live life in the story. He has serious power, intellect and skill.

Wow. *sighs* Here we go. Fi
Vanessa J.
Aug 04, 2015 rated it liked it
3.5 out of 5 stars

This is a story about a treasure hunt that starts with finding a gold beetle, and proceeds from there with adventure and ciphers and ingenious explanations.

The narrator is the usual nameless/faceless one that appears in most of Poe's stories. This time, though, he's not unreliable.

Truly recommended for fans of Poe and/or short stories.
Connie G
Apr 02, 2018 rated it liked it
The title, "The Gold Bug", has a double meaning in this story about a gold colored large bug found on Sullivan's Island, and also a treasure hunt for gold. The narrator's friend, William Legrand, seems a bit strange and possibly ill at first, but we find out that he has been using his strong deductive skills. ...more
Jun 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: pirates :)

"The Gold Bug" is a nice short treasure hunt with a great introduction to cryptography and codebreaking. It definitely tickled my curiosity and I tried to decipher the code.

Though this book was a little bit bitter due to the racism, shown to the black servant.
M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews
One of Poe's longer stories, but it's a pretty cool adventure/mystery, Poe was a versatile author and it's too bad he was not appreciated more in his lifetime. ...more
Benjamin Stahl
Sep 25, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: second-reading
The first time I read this, I thought it was very boring. Having just read it again, in my epic journey to read every single goddamned thing that Poe has ever written - (I shall be married with kids by the time I am finished; or, more likely, rotting beneath an unmarked grave as all my friends go on without realizing I'm even dead) - I guess I enjoyed the story a little bit more. But hell, by the time I finished it, I think I basically had the same impressions. I give it for credit for making se ...more
⚫Immortal Persian⚫^-^
Dec 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
It was ok to be honest
Finally, humour from Poe! Sadly, most of it comes at the expense of a negro servant.

Otherwise, it's an adventure story involving a cypher. I remember the days when emails sometimes came as gibberish because of some bug (not a gold-bug, though) and one could decypher them using more or less the same methods (knowing the email probably began with 'Hello' or words to that meaning helped a lot, of course). Anyway, Poe's story was a huge inspiration for many others - writers, as well as, they say, th
A. Dawes
Jul 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
A little more dated than some of other Poe's tales. It involves a bug bite (and potential madness) and a cryptogram. Not a storyline that did much for me personally. ...more
Oct 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
This story had a very interesting plot.
Jess the Shelf-Declared Bibliophile
Easily one of my favorite short stories of all time! Clever, adventurous, mysterious, witty, all rolled into one.
Walter Mendoza
May 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
The Gold-Bug is a masterpiece of deductive mystery story of Edgar A. Poe. The story takes place on Sullivan's Island about Captain Kidd's buried treasure and a parchment like a key, with an amazing cryptanalysis, and excellent and big final. In conclusion a book I Recommend. ...more
Dec 27, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
☯Emily  Ginder
Feb 23, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to ☯Emily by: NYU course
Just an average Poe story about a hidden treasure. It is absurd and ridiculous, but I still read it to the end. However, I am wondering what happened to the treasure. (view spoiler) ...more
A Mig
May 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
A pun that leads us to a hidden treasure and to the early (earliest?) use of a cypher. A classic from Poe; the golden scarab reminded me of Guillermo del Toro's Cronos movie; there was everything to make it a great story... Unfortunately the 19th century style and anticlimactic structure spoiled my enthusiasm for it. ...more
Sep 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you like tales of adventure that involve treasure maps, ciphers, pirate gold and buried treasure than this is a story for you. An excellent read for both young and old.

In the story Poe has the narrator describe Legrand as thus; "I found him well educated, with unusual powers of mind, but infected with misanthropy, and subject to perverse moods of alternate enthusiasm and melancholy" (p. 2). If anyone would know about those perverse moods it would be Poe. Dr. Kay R. Jamison speaking at a John
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
No one could write a cryptography-based story as good as what Poe did in The Gold Bug.
Some of his elements can be witnessed nowadays (long long after Poe's era) in the works of modern writers as Emily Rodda.
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was so good! But, I mean, has Poe even written anything that isn't? ...more
Aug 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
An intresting tresure hunting story which I did not expect at all!
The gold bug by Edgar Allan Poe get a 7/10 stars.
Manuel Alfonseca
Apr 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
ENGLISH: This short story is much less gruesome than most stories by Poe. It's also my favorite. When I was a boy, it gave me my initiation to the science of cryptography. Together with one of my mates, also interested in the subject, we sent to one another cryptic messages without the key, for the other one to decipher them. It was great fun.

ESPAÑOL: Este cuento es mucho menos truculento que la mayor parte de los cuentos de Poe. También es mi favorito. Cuando era niño, fue mi introducción a la
Sep 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
This version is actually a collection of three short stories by Poe: "The Gold Bug", "The Sphinx", and "William Wilson". I enjoyed all three, especially "William Wilson" (which, to me, had the most ominous undertones). "The Gold Bug" was more entertaining (and funny) than I anticipated. I'm familiar with both Charleston and Sullivan's Island, so it made the story even more interesting. ...more
Jan 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edgar-allan-poe
I will say what I always say about Poe, no matter which of his stories/poems I read...
Poe is an artist! Poe is unique!
Poe is mysterious! Poe is scary!
Poe is Poe!!! <3 And I love him!!!
All of his stories and poems give you the chills and you just can't stop reading!!!
If you haven't read any of his work...please do a gift to yourself and go read some!!!
Jul 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-books
Neat short story. Poe manages to make you unsettled describing the most basic aspects of everyday life. Interesting and early depiction of cryptography and cipher (certainly among the first in literature).
Greg Wasinski
Feb 20, 2021 rated it it was ok
Pretty boring actually. Also racist, I think???
It was ok. I would have liked it more if it weren't for the n-word. That made me very uncomfortable. ...more
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The name Poe brings to mind images of murderers and madmen, premature burials, and mysterious women who return from the dead. His works have been in print since 1827 and include such literary classics as The Tell-Tale Heart, The Raven, and The Fall of the House of Usher. This versatile writer’s oeuvre includes short stories, poetry, a novel, a textbook, a book of scientific theory, and hundreds of ...more

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