John Banville picnic in The Sea

John Banville picnic in The Sea

John Manville’s The Sea is about a man’s untrustworthy memories—less about his dying wife, and more about his sexual awakening when he was about eleven years old. Looking back, Max Morden realizes that his observations of the Grace family’s beach picnics “changed his...

   
Ron Howard’s Nerdish Picnic in A Beautiful Mind

Ron Howard’s Nerdish Picnic in A Beautiful Mind

Ron Howard’s fictional (and sentimental) A Beautiful Mind is a biography of John Nash, a Nobel Prize winning mathematician. If Nash ever picnicked, his (factual) biographer Sylvia Nasar doesn’t mention it. Undeterred, Howard invents a lovers’ picnic at which Nash...
Fish Fry Picnics in The Green Pastures

Fish Fry Picnics in The Green Pastures

Broadway audiences ignored issues of racial stereotyping in The Green Pastures, Marc Connelly’s dramatization of Roark Bradford’s Ol’ Man Adam. * How charming to see African American angels with white wings dressed in brightly colored robes preparing for their eternal...
The Marx Brothers’ Picnic in Monkey Business

The Marx Brothers’ Picnic in Monkey Business

Monkey Business is the usual Marx Brothers’ sense-and-nonsense. It begins with a transatlantic crossing to New York and ends with a picnic in an old barn. The contrast is jarring, but by this time the plot is so convoluted, it doesn’t matter anymore. The episode...
Two Spinsters on the Beach at St. Madoc

Two Spinsters on the Beach at St. Madoc

William J. Locke’s story “Ladies in Lavender” (1916) doesn’t have a picnic. Charles Dance thought better, an in his screenplay, includes at picnic on the beach in a cove on the coast of Cornwall. The story is simple. Ursula and Janet, spinster sisters, well on in...
West’s Cardboard Picnic on Lawn of Fiber

West’s Cardboard Picnic on Lawn of Fiber

The Day of the Locust may have been the best novel ever written about Hollywood, but Nathanael West and his publisher Random House miscalculated. They believed an acerbic satire of the film industry and it’s insidious confusion of illusion and reality would sell, but...
Foster’s Howards End  Garden Party

Foster’s Howards End Garden Party

The episode featuring Henry Wilcox’s garden party for his daughter’s wedding is central to E.M. Foster’s Howards End and James Ivory’s 1992 film because it reveals Edwardian hypocrisy and its predatory sexuality. It is a disaster when Henry Wilcox’s former mistress...
Picnic Clambake in Carousel

Picnic Clambake in Carousel

As everyone knows, a picnic is happy, and Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein’s “A Real Nice Clambake” celebrates the camaraderie and good spirits, while a the same time providing a recipe for the clambake: codfish chowder (with onions and ribbons of salt pork)...
Effi Briest’s Breasts

Effi Briest’s Breasts

Proving that picnics and love are a natural combination, the plot of Theodor Fontane’s Effi Briest hinges on a beach-picnic love affair. At first, it’s a recreational outing for Effi Briest, her husband, Geert von Innstettin, and a friend, Major von Crampas. But when...