William Steig’s Abel’s Island (1976)

William Steig’s Abel’s Island (1976)

Steig’s juvenile novel Abel’s Island (1976) is a Robinsonade, the adventure of Abelard Hassam di Chirico Flint a mouse stranded for a year on an island in a river. Like Robinson Crusoe, Abel manages to live off the land and returns to his former life chastened but...

Henry James’s English Hours (1905)

Chief among James’s observations of Derby Day at Epsom is his astonishment at the picnicking on the carriage tops. It was a sight of madness. “The crowd was very animated; that is the most succinct description I can give of it. The horses of course had...
Gustave Dore’s London, A Pilgrimage (1872)

Gustave Dore’s London, A Pilgrimage (1872)

Doré visited Epsom on Derby Day 1869 and concentrated on its carnival atmosphere; the throngs and tumult on the ground and the champagne luncheons on carriage tops in London: A Pilgrimage (1872). Blanchard Jerold’s text describes the scene as being in perpetual tumult...
Sarah Orne Jewett ‘s The Country of the Pointed Firs  (1896)

Sarah Orne Jewett ‘s The Country of the Pointed Firs (1896)

Jewett’s chapters “The Reunion” and “The End of the Feast” from The Country of the Pointed Firs describe Bowden picnic reunion in the fictional town of Dunnet Landing, Maine. The family sit at long tables in a grove of trees overlooking...
Paul de Kock’s Monsieur Dupont (1825)

Paul de Kock’s Monsieur Dupont (1825)

De Kock sometimes styled the French Dickens, is known for his broad portrayals of the Parisian working-class society, affairs, cabarets, and other entertainment. In Monsieur Dupont, the entertainment spotlighted is a tumultuous picnic at Romainville, still a popular...
Philip K. Dick’s Eye in the Sky (1957)

Philip K. Dick’s Eye in the Sky (1957)

The picnic in Dick’s Eye in the Sky is characteristic of his style of mixing shifting planes of reality and illusion, laced with sardonic humor. The picnic takes when the real world collides accidentally with an alternate world it’s the result of an...
Paul Theroux’s O-Zone (1986)

Paul Theroux’s O-Zone (1986)

The New Year’s Eve picnic in Theroux’s O-Zone is a (very long) environmental sci-fi/melodrama. The year is 2036, and eight picnickers have gathered in the O-Zone or Outer Zone. This vast ecological disaster area was once Arkansas and Missouri sucking...
Cristoforo de Predis’s The Garden of Delights (1470c.)

Cristoforo de Predis’s The Garden of Delights (1470c.)

De Predis’ Venus: The garden of delights representing the joyful influence Venus exerts on mortals is an illustration for The Sphere of the Cosmos, De Sphaerae  (1466 or later). The original treatise dating from 1230c describes Venus’ feast day celebrated when Venus...
Charles Simic’s “Night Picnic” (2001)

Charles Simic’s “Night Picnic” (2001)

Simic’s “Night Picnic” takes place on the grass on a very dark looking at the vast starless sky.  The narrator finds it slightly ironic that in such a situation, he and his companion should be drinking red wine and nibbling a crust. Wine and bread suggest communion,...