Walt Disney’s Donald Duck’s Picnic (1939)

Walt Disney’s Donald Duck’s Picnic (1939)

At first, Donald Duck’s beach picnic is a pleasant outing. Donald and Pluto set up on the beach for a perfect day. Donald plants an umbrella for shade and spreads a blanket for food. Expectations are high. It doesn’t last, as usual. The picnic turmoil is classic....
Charles Coe’s Picnic on the Moon (1999)

Charles Coe’s Picnic on the Moon (1999)

Charles Coe’s poem “Picnic on the Moon,” Picnic on the Moon (1999), is not sci-fi. It’s a critique of human violence and enmity on Earth set against the Moon’s tranquility and quiet. The Moon sounds like the perfect picnic spot- a great place to bask...
“The Picnic Season” at Jones’ Wood for The Daily Graphic (1873)

“The Picnic Season” at Jones’ Wood for The Daily Graphic (1873)

Claude Tavernier’s  “The Picnic Season,” a cover for The Daily Graphic (1873), depicts a picnic excursion up the Hudson River. It’s a narrative that begins as picnickers board a steamer from Jones Wood, a popular commercial picnic ground in northern Manhattan (an area...
Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain (1924)

Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain (1924)

This picnic staged by Pieter Peeperkorn at the Flüela Falls is a central episode in Mann’s The Magic Mountain. Literally, it’s a picnic; metaphorically, it’s a contrast between man and the force of nature in which nature is dominant. Mann’s description of the power...
Monica Ali’s  Brick Lane (2007)

Monica Ali’s Brick Lane (2007)

Monica Ali’s family in Brick Lane is outwardly happy but inwardly troubled. After twenty years, Nazneen’s arranged marriage to Chanu Ahmed has gone wobbly. She’s never loved Chanu, but at the time of the picnic, she’s conflicted by guilt and lust-fueled by Karim, a...
Sara & Gerald Murphy’s Villa America in Antibes (1920s)

Sara & Gerald Murphy’s Villa America in Antibes (1920s)

Villa America, Sara, and Gerald Murphy’s home in Antibes looked down on a beach called La Garoupe, where they spread oriental carpets on the sand and drank wine and cold Veuve Cliquot. They were prodigious drinkers but what they ate is a mystery. During the 1920s,...
John Banville’sThe Sea (2005)

John Banville’sThe Sea (2005)

Banville’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 life...
Samuel Beckett’s Malone Dies (1956)

Samuel Beckett’s Malone Dies (1956)

Time and details in Beckett’s Malone Dies are contradictory, if not often obscure. Events of the narrative are especially confusing, especially as it reaches a bloody climax that ends with a picnic where six people are hacked to death. The narrative of this picnic is...
Tony Ray-Jones’ Picnic at Glyndebourne (1967)

Tony Ray-Jones’ Picnic at Glyndebourne (1967)

Ray-Jones’ attitude towards life was to expose its “gentle madness” and “to walk, like Alice, through a Looking-Glass, and find another kind of world with the camera.” He preferred  to photograph situations that are “ambiguous and unreal, and the juxtaposition of...