Culture vultures: a ‘stay at home’ pandemic quiz


With coronavirus the de facto guest editor of this edition, we offer below a quiz based on memorable references to disease in Spanish-language film and literature.  See how many you and your socially distanced compañeros can identify.  All except the last question are from authors/works featured in past and present Pre-U syllabuses.

Perhaps the hardest question first:

  1. What illness-related event in García Márquez’s Crónica de una muerte anunciada leads a secondary character to commit a decisive error mortal?


  1. García Márquez’s most famous work pre-empted the medical discovery of collective semantic dementia: what were the two main symptoms for the residents of Macondo?


  1. Which García Márquez novel’s opening paragraph describes the protagonist potentially becoming infected, and with what deadly disease?


  1. In which of García Márquez’s novels does Dr Juvenal Urbino win high esteem for his ability to tackle the disease ravaging his city? Name one of the real cities on which the city of the novel is based.


  1. Film question: the terminal illness of an elderly indígena woman is arguably the turning point in this ‘road movie’ par excellence. What is the film, and in which country does this episode take place?


  1. This Sabina song opens with the singer complaining about the eponymous protagonist’s poor health. Name one of the medical conditions mentioned, and the title of the song.


  1. Se deslizan confusiones. Lo traicionero es la memoria.”   In which novel does a major character first admit to symptoms of mental illness in these terms, and what is his job?


  1. Why do the guests fall ill after eating the wedding cake, and in which novel?


  1. In which Borges short story does the protagonist set out by train to convalesce in his estancia, after recovering from what life-threatening illness?


  1. ¿Qué será esto, xxxxx, que parece que se me ablandan los cascos o se me derriten los sesos, o que sudo de los pies a la cabeza?” To whom (xxxxxx) is this remark directed, and why is the speaker suffering the symptoms described?


Now check your answers here.