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,...
P.H. Newby’s The Picnic at Sakkara (1955)

P.H. Newby’s The Picnic at Sakkara (1955)

Newby’s Picnic At Sakkara is a comic novel set during political and international turmoil in Egypt.   At the time of Newby’s action around 1946-47, the British are still in control of the Suez Canal, the Farouk regime was wobbling, and Egyptian nationalism led by the...
Francisco Goya’s Merienda a orillas del Manzanares (1776)

Francisco Goya’s Merienda a orillas del Manzanares (1776)

Francesco de Goya. Merienda a orillas del Manzanares [Picnic At the Edge of the Manzanares River] (1776) is a tapestry painting intended for the dining room of Prince and Princess of Asturias in the San Lorenzo Palace in Madrid. Goya described the subject as a...
Pic Nic Society: Gamblers, Actors, and Pic Nic Dinners (1801)

Pic Nic Society: Gamblers, Actors, and Pic Nic Dinners (1801)

The Pic Nic Society attracted obsessive gamblers, eager amateur actors called Dilettanti, and gourmand diners. Taking advantage of a truce in a decade-long war with France (lead by Napoleon, then First Consul), the Pic Nics wagered (and lost) that London might have a...
Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II’s Carousel  (1945)  

Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II’s Carousel (1945)  

Rodgers and Hammerstein II’s joyous clambake is among the significant changes to Ferenc Molnár’s bleak Liliom. It’s a setup for the unhappiness that follows when Billy Bigelow botches a robbery and dies, leaving his beloved Julie Jordan pregnant and alone....
Kate Atkinson Started Early, Took my Dog for a Walk (2010)

Kate Atkinson Started Early, Took my Dog for a Walk (2010)

Killing time. That’s what Atkinson uses a picnic for in Started Early, Took my Dog for a Walk. But in the TV series Case Histories is cut and replaced with an afternoon snack in a cafe. Importantly, what else Glenaan cut from the text is a typical example of...
D.H. Lawrence’s Aaron’s Rod (1922)

D.H. Lawrence’s Aaron’s Rod (1922)

Aaron Sissons, the protagonist of D. H. Lawrence’s Aaron’s Rod, leaves his wife and three young children to find himself. Something he never does. The “rod” is his flute, which he plays well enough to earn a modest living. It is also a pun on his sexuality and...
Martin Amis’ Dead Babies (1975)

Martin Amis’ Dead Babies (1975)

Appleseed Rectory in Amis’ Dead Babies alludes to Lindsay’s Appleyard College in Picnic at Hanging Rock. Like Lindsay’s picnic, Amis’ is a disaster. Though none of his Appleseeders dies, they are as the title suggests figuratively “dead babies.” The...
John Dillwyn Llewelyn’s Picnic Photograph (1855)

John Dillwyn Llewelyn’s Picnic Photograph (1855)

It’s a family affair. And except for their clothing, not much has changed since John Llewelyn snapped his wife Emma and their children on a hillside above Swansea, Wales. According to family lore, Llewelyn photographed his wife Emma each year on her birthday,...
Dinner on the Grounds

Dinner on the Grounds

Dinner on the grounds (always with an “s”) is a Methodist revival meeting picnic. Among agrarian communities, the revival is held in August before harvesting begins in earnest. There are many geographic variations throughout the United States, but Southerners seem to...