PDD Quiz: Duluth in Literature

This edition of the PDD Quiz tests your knowledge of references to Duluth in literature. The 10-year-old PDD post “References to Duluth in Popular Literature” might prove useful should you want to cheat study.

The next PDD quiz will focus on September 2019 headlines; it will be published on Sept. 29. Submit question suggestions to Alison Moffat at [email protected] by Sept. 25.

#1 This author’s 1983 novel “Duluth” features both a city and a television show by that name.

Vidal’s fictional Duluth is bordered by the Twin Cities and Michigan.

#2 Brian Selznick was inspired to write his graphic novel “Wonderstruck,” which features a character who spends time in the Duluth Children’s Hospital, after seeing a diorama of taxidermied wolves from Gunflint Lake at what museum?

The diorama was updated in 2013 with new lighting and painted “moon shadows.”

#3 Which F. Scott Fitzgerald character changes his name right before visiting Duluth?

Inspired by an encounter with a millionaire at Little Girls Point, James Gatz adopts the name Jay Gatsby. “A few days later he took him to Duluth and bought him a blue coat, six pair of white duck trousers, and a yachting cap.”

#4 “The Stand” by Stephen King mentions a man “with a large smear of ash on his forehead and a hand-lettered sandwich board hanging over his scrawny shoulders” wandering which Duluth road?

The Stand was published in 1978.

#5 Mr. Wednesday trades in Shadow’s car in Duluth in this Neil Gaiman novel.

“‘Well,’ said Shadow, ‘you drove off with my white piece of shit. Where is it, by the way?’

“‘I traded it in in Duluth,’ said Wednesday. ‘You can’t be too careful. Don’t worry — you’ll get your share when all this is done.’”

#6 While Sinclair Lewis’ “Main Street” mentions Duluth by name, which of his novels is set in the fictional city Zenith?

While the fictional Zenith is likely not modeled on Duluth, Sinclair Lewis did live at 2601 E. 2nd St. in Duluth from 1943 to 1945.

#7 Cheryl Strayed reacts to Duluth doctors diagnosing her 45-year-old mother with lung cancer in which memoir (adapted into a film in 2014)?

“People like my mother did not get cancer. The tests at the Mayo Clinic would prove that, refuting what the doctors in Duluth had said. I was certain of this. Who were those doctors in Duluth anyway? What was Duluth? Duluth! Duluth was a freezing hick town where doctors who didn’t know what the hell they were talking about told forty-five-year-old vegetarian-ish, garlic- eating, natural-remedy-using nonsmokers that they had late-stage lung cancer, that’s what.

Fuck them.”

#8 Which “oral history of the zombie war” by Max Brooks mentions “The New Grand Warlord of Duluth”?

Brooks, the son of Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft, previously worked as a writer for Saturday Night Live.

#9 “The 42nd Parallel,” which refers to Duluth four times, is part of which John Dos Passos trilogy?

“‘Well, I’m headed for Duluth myself. That’s where my folks are …’ ‘So you’re from Duluth, are you?’ ‘Well what’s the big joke about Duluth?’ ‘It’s no joke, it’s a misfortune.’”

#10 This Duluth landmark is mentioned by name in “The World According to Bertie” by Alexander McCall Smith.

“Matthew looked doubtful. ‘It seems a bit unlikely,’ he said. ‘Why should Johannesburg have a duke? And what’s all this about these clubs? Where’s the Gitchigumi Club for heaven’s sakes?’

“‘Duluth,’ said Pat. ‘That’s what it says there. Duluth.’

“‘And where exactly is that?’ asked Matthew.


“‘Yes. Where’s Duluth?’

“Pat thought for a moment. ‘Guess,’ she said. She had no idea, and could only guess herself. Minnesota?”


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