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...
George Eliot’s Daniel Deronda (1876)

George Eliot’s Daniel Deronda (1876)

Daniel Deronda has two archery picnics, both of which do not meet the usual expectations of being joyous. Eliot uses sport to illustrate gender relationships. Both archery picnics are metaphors in which Gwendolyn Harleth and the other women archers are contrasted to...
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...
Lucas Cranach, the Elder’s The Fountain of Youth (1546)

Lucas Cranach, the Elder’s The Fountain of Youth (1546)

Cranach’s paintings often conflate the spiritual and erotic, particularly The Fountain of Youth and The Golden Age, both completed in 1546.  The subjects seem pagan, but his friendship with Martin Luther deeply influenced Cranach. The Fountain of Youth...
Maurice Baring’s Caligula’s Picnic (1911)

Maurice Baring’s Caligula’s Picnic (1911)

Before the picnic breaks up and all the guests are drowned in the Bay of Naples, peacock and eels are served. Baring’s sense of humor is satirical and macabre. Here is one of his jokes in Caligula’s Picnic, a one-act closet drama: Proteus: I once knew a...

Billy Collin’s “Picnic Lightning” (1997)

Billy Collins’ “Picnic Lightning” is a tender meditation on the poet’s mortality. It’s always imminent, like lightning at a picnic, but not fearful. Aware that the phrase “picnic lightning” is from Nabokov’s Lolita,...
Ludolf Bakhuizen’s  Picnick aan zee  (1701)

Ludolf Bakhuizen’s Picnick aan zee (1701)

Bakhuizen embellished this seascape (his usual subject ) with a group of picnickers. The word picnic was used in Europe in 1701. The contemporary title Picnick ann zee is appropriate but inaccurate. A century later, Turner embellished many of his picturesque views...