Gwen Raverat’s Period Piece Picnics

Gwen Raverat’s Period Piece Picnics

“Heroic Survivors of the Picnic.” is Gwen Raverat’s bittersweet memory of a miserable picnic. It’s the next-to-last anecdote in her memoir Period Piece: A Cambridge Childhood. I think she means to suggest that life was no picnic, but that she has no remorse. Despite...
A.T. Smith’s  Picnic Fiasco “Slicing the Wasps”

A.T. Smith’s Picnic Fiasco “Slicing the Wasps”

The humor of Smith’s picnic fiasco “Slicing the Wasps” is obvious. The legend reads: “Suitable for both sexes, young and old. Fascinating, amusing, skillful exciting, and with that element of danger.” It’s also an allusion to  to...
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...
Satie’s Le Pique-Nique

Satie’s Le Pique-Nique

“Le Pique-nique,” a piano composition about 30 seconds long, is one of twenty-one very short musical interpretations in Sports et Divertissement [Sports & Entertainments] devoted to the happiness of people at play. Satie’s preface ­explains that two artistic...
O’Brien’s Ants

O’Brien’s Ants

Ants at a picnic always serve for picnic humor not because they have interrupted picnics but because it is cute to presume that they do. But who is really bothered by ants? John O’Brien achieves stasis in “Ants at a Picnic”: his picnickers and ants below them are...
Colwin’s Picnics

Colwin’s Picnics

Family Happiness is Laurie Colwin’s comic tale about a East Manhattan Jewish housewife, who finds happiness at home and in a picnic in bed with her lover. On the way to her first tryst, Polly Demarest stops to pick up a smoked salmon sandwich. Alone and excited, they...
Robinson’s Zoo Picnic

Robinson’s Zoo Picnic

The zany humor of “Just a Picnic at Whipsnade” is Heath Robinson’s trademark. Of the two picnics here, the lion has got the better deal. It also helps knowing that Whipsnade is England’s biggest zoo, near Luton, an hour and twenty minutes north of London. Featured...
Racetrack Satire by Leech

Racetrack Satire by Leech

The London Stock Exchange’s reaction to a current financial panic is the butt of John Leech’s “The Currency Question, or The Exchange Out for a Day.” Picnicking in troubled times, a racectrack, is risible, but then again, Leech implies, buying and selling stocks is a...
De Brunhoff’s Picnic on Another Planet

De Brunhoff’s Picnic on Another Planet

Laurent de Brunhoff ‘s Babar Visits Another Planet (1972) begins at the start of yet another family picnic until a rocketship upsets the fun. Then Babar, Celeste, their children Pom, Flora, Arthur, cousin Alexander, and the monkey Zephir, are sucked into the rocket...