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ABSTRACT. The Gold-Bug includes a number of intriguing details (scaraboeus, invisible ink, seventh dead limb of a magnificent tree, death’s-head etc.) that prompt a closer examination of the text. The analysis reveals a sophisticated pattern the significance of which extends beyond the intention of fictions dealing with the popular theme of treasure seeking. It is the purpose of this paper to examine the symbolic overtones investing an apparently straightforward tale of sheer adventure. The method consists in an identification of the main clues accounting for the metamorphosis of mimesis into poesis, for the imperceptible transgression from the factual to the richly suggestive, poetic text. The working premise is that beneath the factual level of the narrative one can discern a consistent, consciously-developed symbolic layer structured along archetypal lines of significance. From this perspective, Legrand’s adventure reveals a vast spiritual quest granting access to the ultimate source of artistic creation. On the other hand, while more or less overtly pointing to the attainment of the perfect work of art, the elaborate scheme leading to the treasure subtly dissimulates the functioning principle of the symbolic mode. Its structuring function of the main elements of the tale is examined by way of conclusion. pp. 82–92

Keywords: scaraboeus; parchment; invisible ink; cipher; death’s-head; left eye; treasure; logos; mythos; symbolic mode

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