Günter Grass’ Barbaric Picnic in The Flounder

Günter Grass’ Barbaric Picnic in The Flounder

Grass’ unconventional picnic in The Flounder (1977) is among the worst. Not only does Grass mock the accepted idea of a picnic but in doing so turns Greek mythology topsy-turvy. It’s an episode in which the key figure is Sybille, aka Billie, a name that is a variation...
When Silenus’ Donkey Brayed

When Silenus’ Donkey Brayed

When Alfonso d’Este, the Duke to Ferrara and his wife Lucrezia Borgia, asked for a painting expressing worldly delights, drinking, and sensuality, Giovanni Bellini complied. Now ending a successful career as a painter of Madonnas, saints, popes, here he is...
McCuller’s Deviled Eggs, Liver Pudding, and Nehi

McCuller’s Deviled Eggs, Liver Pudding, and Nehi

Carson McCullers’ depressing picnic defies our expectations. The episode in The Heart is a Lonely Hunter uses a picnic for a loveless-first-time-sexual encounter between adolescents Mick Kelly (13) and Harry Minowitz (15). In what might otherwise be described as...
Benson’s Persephone’s Picnics

Benson’s Persephone’s Picnics

The myth of Persephone’s abduction by Hades, aka Pluto, is linked with sexual predation and seasonal change. As Hesiod tells the story in Theogony, Persephone is gathering asphodels with the daughters of Oceanus when she is abducted and taken to Hades, where she rules...