Fernando Arrabal’s Picnic on the Battlefield (1959)

Fernando Arrabal’s Picnic on the Battlefield (1959)

The big idea in Arrabal’s Picnic on the Battlefield is the stupidity of war. * Originally Pique-nique en campagne, the title was changed for American readers. The play is Aligned with the Absurdists, such as Beckett and Ionesco. Arrabal was a founder (among...
Alexandre Dumas’  The Three Musketeers (1844)

Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers (1844)

Among battlefield picnics, The Three Musketeers sets the pattern for sardonic humor. It’s meant as yet another instance of the Musketeers’ bravado. Still, Alexandre Dumas and Auguste Maquet (his co-author) add comic relief to the serious Siege of La Rochelle and the...
Leonid Andreyev’s  The Red Laugh (1904)

Leonid Andreyev’s The Red Laugh (1904)

Leonid Andreyev’s The Red Laugh is an antiwar horror story about Russia’s war in Manchuria. The novel is constantly downbeat, and each of its chapters is a fragment, the first of which begins “Horror and Madness.” The picnic happens after soldiers on the front lines...
“Picnics on the Old Front,” The Illustrated London News (1919)

“Picnics on the Old Front,” The Illustrated London News (1919)

When the war began in 1914, picnic baskets were shelved. But when the peace was being negotiated at Versailles in June 1919, they were dusted off and repacked. Signaling the change, The Illustrated London News editors suggested that it was time for picnicking—in the...