Vargas Ilosa Turns Picnic Topsy-Turvy

Vargas Ilosa Turns Picnic Topsy-Turvy

According to expectation, Don Rigoberto assumes a picnic is always happy. However, the hero of Mario Vargas Llosa’s Don Rigoberto’s Note Books stretches his imagination not to believe otherwise.   Having endured deep family and personal stress, Rigoberto tries...
Death by Fire in the East River

Death by Fire in the East River

Searching for the joy and peace of a picnic doesn’t always mean it’s attainable. One thousand congregants of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church boarded the steamship General Slocum, at its birth on the East River in lower Manhattan and died. They expected a pleasant...
Ted Hughes’ Iron Man Wrecks Picnic

Ted Hughes’ Iron Man Wrecks Picnic

It’s an ordinary picnic on a grassy mound. A family spread a cloth and unpacks “a roasted chicken, a bottle of milk, a bowl of tomatoes, a bagful of boil eggs, a dish of butter and a loaf of bread, with cheese and salt and cups.” Then the earth rumbles and quakes, a...
Piero’s Lapiths and Centaurs

Piero’s Lapiths and Centaurs

Giorgio Vasari’s assessment of Piero di Cosimo in Lives of the Painters (1550/68) is a mixed bag. Of his art, Vasari is complimentary but that as a man Vasari says that he was difficult, reclusive, and gloomy, so that “as he discoursed, he would twist everything to...
Byatt’s flying ants ruin a Midsummer’s Day picnic

Byatt’s flying ants ruin a Midsummer’s Day picnic

When flying ants fall into the strawberries, cucumber sandwiches, and the silver cream jugs the Midsummer’s Day picnic is ruined, everyone runs for cover. Cinematically Angels & Insects, directed by Philip Haas and his co-screenwriter Belinda Haas is played out as...