Welcome to the summer 2020 edition of the Bulletin, whose deadline fell on the feast of St Bona – patron saint of travel agents and tour guides.
In the 12th century Bona led no fewer than nine tour groups to Spain from her home in Pisa.
She’d have had a job doing that this year. Salamanca-based Eneida Pérez shares with us the existential angst of being a 21st century guía sin grupo with whom to share the wonders of Spain.
The precariedad she describes is backed up by William Chislett’s analysis of Spain’s post-pandemic reconstruction, while Alfredo Benito assesses cómo respondió España to the health and political challenges of the virus.
University student Valentine Agostinho-Juenet was on her third year abroad in Chile when the pandemic hit: she decided to stay, and tells us why. We also reflect on the pandemic’s impact on UK students and teachers, especially in the Pre-U community.
We commemorate three great writers: Luís Sepúlveda – revolutionary, Greenpeace activist and author of the delightful Un viejo que leía novelas de amor; Miguel de Unamuno – why did it take 60 years for Arturo Barea’s definitive study of him to be published in Spain?; and Borges – in the second of two essays on the maestro, Etta Selim looks at his subversion of the detective theme. In addition, Harry McKenzie seeks a moral framework in García Márquez’s Crónica de un muerte anunciada.
We offer some lockdown-lifting cheer. In Memes and Mafalda Nathanial Gardner looks at the way the Spanish-speaking world keeps smiling through the gloom. Then test your knowledge of Spanish culture by seeing how many references to plague, disease and pandemic from film and literature you recognise in our Pandemic Quiz.
Enjoy the read. If you feel inspired, contributions to the next edition are welcome by 30 September.
The BAS editorial team