James Hilton’s Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1934)

James Hilton’s Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1934)

Hilton’s romantic Goodbye, Mr. Chips describes Chip and Katherine’s courtship as being so brief that within a week of meeting, “they were head over heels in love” and married soon after. This is not what a filmmaker wants in a romantic tale. The consequence is...
Henri Matisse’s Joy of Life (1905/06)

Henri Matisse’s Joy of Life (1905/06)

Matisse completed The Joy of Life [Le Bonheur de Vivre] (1905-1906), a lovers’ picnic in a garden. There is a  cloth, though there is neither food nor drink. Who was it that said, “Love is not all: it is not meat nor drink”? [Also see Matisse’s Calm, Luxury, and...
Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s The Doctor’s Wife

Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s The Doctor’s Wife

Mary Elizabeth Braddon freely admitted that  The Doctor’s Wife was a free exploration of Flaubert’s Madame Bovary. In this instance, the doctor’s unhappy wife, Isabel Gilbert, is looking for romance, though not quite up to becoming another...
H.E. Bates’s A Month by the Lake

H.E. Bates’s A Month by the Lake

DRAFT For all that happens in H.E. Bates’ story and John Irvin’s film A Month by the Lake, Lake Como might as well be “Lake Coma.” Bates’ original story includes a lovely picnic in the summer of 1937 meant to enhance the slow-paced relationship of the middle-aged...
Theodor Fontane’s Effi Briest (1896)

Theodor Fontane’s Effi Briest (1896)

Fontane’s Effi Briest hinges on a beach-picnic love affair. At first, it’s a recreational outing for Effi Briest, her husband, Geert von Innstetten, and a friend, Major von Crampas. But when Instettin leaves town on business, the picnicking episodes continue, and the...
Ned Rorems’s Bitchy Picnic on the Marne (1967)

Ned Rorems’s Bitchy Picnic on the Marne (1967)

Ned Rorem’s bitchy recollection of a “collapsed romance” inspired Picnic on the Marne: Seven Waltzes. The romance with Claude Benedick was hot in the 1950s, but by 1967 all that was left was rancor.  He spews his anger in The New York Diary; “Sweet...
Evelyn Waugh’sBrideshead Revisited

Evelyn Waugh’sBrideshead Revisited

Slightly drunk, Sebastian Flyte looks up as the sky remarking (mainly to himself), “Just the place to bury a crock of gold,” he says, “I should like to bury something precious in every place where I’ve been happy and then when I was old and ugly and miserable, I could...
Robert James Waller’s The Bridges of Madison County (1992)

Robert James Waller’s The Bridges of Madison County (1992)

Robert James Waller’s sudsy  Bridges of Madison County doesn’t include a picnic. But Clint Eastwood’s film does. Francesca (Meryl Streep) and Kincaid (Clint Eastwood) enjoy a romantic picnic by Roseman Bridge. For a discussion, see Picnicnicsonfilm.org. Featured...
Frederick Ashton’s Picnic at Tintagel (1952)

Frederick Ashton’s Picnic at Tintagel (1952)

Frederick Ashton’s Picnic at Tintagel is inspired by  Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s popular Victorian novel Royal Mount in which sightseers picnic on the ruins of Tintagel Castle. (Discussion of Braddon’s Royal Mount is posted elsewhere on PicnicWit.com) Ashton famed the...