Norman Lindsay’s The Picnic Gods  (1907)

Norman Lindsay’s The Picnic Gods  (1907)

A joke is also at Norman Lindsay’s The Picnic Gods  (1907) is a joke. Usually, Lindsay revels in titillation,  naked buxom women, and muscular men. He took as his mission to rid Australia of its prudish sensibilities, and the content of his paintings and etchings...
William Goldman’s The Princess Bride (1973)

William Goldman’s The Princess Bride (1973)

Goldman’s The Princess Bride takes a satiric jab at a traditional lovers’s picnic. “Indeed,” he writes in the novel, Vizzini, “had set out a little picnic spread. From the knapsack that he always carried, he had taken a small handkerchief, and on it, he has...
Virginia Woolf’s The Voyage Out (1915)

Virginia Woolf’s The Voyage Out (1915)

Woolf’s picnic on the summit of Monte Rosa, a fictional place in South America, is the high point (pun intended) of The Voyage Out (1915). Journeying on donkeys walking in a single file, the narrator creates the image of “a jointed caterpillar, tufted with the white...
Calvin Trillin’s “Fly Frills to Miami” (1978)

Calvin Trillin’s “Fly Frills to Miami” (1978)

Trillin’s joke about his “no-frills picnic” while en route from New York to Miami is a tongue-in-cheek report of the consequences of his wife Alice’s frugality that he calls “Law of Compensatory Cashflow.” Because Trillin always (almost) defers to Alice’s superior...
Gwen Raverat’s Period Piece  (1952)

Gwen Raverat’s Period Piece (1952)

“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” (1919)

A.T. Smith’s Picnic Fiasco “Slicing the Wasps” (1919)

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 John...
Eric Satie’s Le Pique-Nique (1914/22)

Eric Satie’s Le Pique-Nique (1914/22)

“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...
Georges Touchard-Lafoss’s Chroniques de l’Oeil-de-boeuf (1776)

Georges Touchard-Lafoss’s Chroniques de l’Oeil-de-boeuf (1776)

Touchard-Lafosse’s pseudonym Oeil-de-boeuf is an allusion to Louis XIV’s Salon de L’Oeil-de-Boeuf, the antechamber to his bedroom dominated by a circular window, oeil-de-boeuf, above the door. As a metaphor, it suggests that he’s a gossip, often relating sexually...