Egbert B. Gebstadter is a fictional author who appears in the indexes (and sometimes in the text) of books by Douglas R. Hofstadter. For each Hofstadter book, there is a corresponding Gebstadter book. His name is derived from "GEB", the abbreviation for Hofstadter's first book Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid; the letters appear in his last name, permuted in his first name, and permuted again in his initials.
From Gebstadter's brief 1985 biography:
The equivalent section of Hofstadter's brief 1985 biography:
Gebstadter's first book is described in GEB as follows:
(The phrase "turgid and confused" was used about the works of Johann Sebastian Bach by his contemporaries.)
CSG is also referred to in the text of GEB itself as Giraffes, Elephants, Baboons: An Equatorial Grasslands Bestiary, which maintains the "GEB: An EGB" acronym. Or perhaps this is a different work by Gebstadter altogether: the evidence is incomplete.
CSG is also referred to in Aria with Diverse Variations, a dialogue in GEB. Achilles and the Tortoise are trying to remember the name of an amateur mathematician, Achilles (incorrectly) suggests "Kupfergödel" and "Silberescher", then Mr Tortoise recalls "Goldbach". Translated from German, these are "copper Gödel", "silver Escher" and "gold Bach", respectively.
Gebstadter's second book is an anthology co-edited with the Australian philosopher Denial E. Dunnett entitled The Brain's U: Phantoms and Mirror-Images of Selfless Souls, and appears in the bibliography of Hofstadter's The Mind's I: Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul. The Gebstadter bibliography on the website for Stepford Ninniversity's "Residential Pictures in Mundanities and Artifice" gives the subtitle as Fairy Tales and Rotations on Ego and Anima.
Gebstadter's third book appears in the bibliography to Hofstadter's third book, Metamagical Themas: Questing for the Essence of Mind and Pattern. This is a collection of Hofstadter's monthly columns from Scientific American with postscripts written specially for the book.
Curiously, there is no mention of Gebstadter's fourth book in Hofstadter's Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought. However, rumor has it that it is entitled Stagnant Notions and Derivative Metaphors: Anthropomorphic Models of the Mechanical Fundaments of Computation, a collection of articles on the research of Gebstadter and his colleagues at the University of Mishuggan's Stagnant Metaphors User Group. Reviewers have supposedly described it as "an eclectic jumble, distended and unfocused," and it has been suggested by some that Hofstadter's Fluid Analogies Research Group was reluctant to give recognition to the work of a rival lab which they sometimes referred to as "those SMUG copycats."
Gebstadter's fifth book is called The Graced Tone of Clément: A la louange de la mélodie des mots, and is referred to in Hofstadter's book Le Ton beau de Marot: In Praise of the Music of Language. Hofstadter's book is in English despite its French title, and we may conjecture that Gebstadter's book is in French despite its English title. This is supported by the fact that this book was published not by Acidic Books but by the Éditions Noitide in Cahors, France.
His latest book is U Are an Odd Ball from Perth: Acidic Books, 2007, which is referenced in Hofstadter's I Am A Strange Loop.