Barbara Kingsolver’s Picnic in The Poisonwood Bible

Among ruined picnics, Kingsolver’s Congo picnic ranks high. It’s a highlight of misadventure in The Poisonwood Wood Bible, a novel the name of which is derived from a misunderstanding of local language. When Reverend Nathan Price says, “Tata Jesus is...
Ando Hiroshige’s Cherry Blossom Viewing at Gotenyama

Ando Hiroshige’s Cherry Blossom Viewing at Gotenyama

Hiroshige’s sly sense of humor turns this hanami topsy-turvy. What his title Cherry Blossom Viewing at Gotenyama does not suggest tis that hanami is a drunken brawl. Well into the afternoon, some of the men are fist fighting and providing spectacle for of nearby...
Sara & Gerald Murphy picnic in Antibes

Sara & Gerald Murphy picnic in Antibes

Villa America, Sara and Gerald Murphy’s home in Antibes looked down on a beach called La Garoupe, where they spread oriental carpets on the sand and drank wine and cold Veuve Cliquot. They were prodigious drinkers but what they ate is a mystery. During the 1920s,...
George Cruikshank’s Pic Nic disturbed by a Swarm of Bees

George Cruikshank’s Pic Nic disturbed by a Swarm of Bees

Round up the usual suspects! Featured Image: George Cruikshank. Pic Nic disturbed by a Swarm of Bees. Aquatint. London: George Humphrey, 1826;    http://images.library.yale.edu/walpoleweb/oneitem.asp?imageId=lwlpr12922.  A black and white print is the British Museum...
Samuel Beckett’s murderous picnic in Malone Dies

Samuel Beckett’s murderous picnic in Malone Dies

Time and details in Beckett’s Malone Dies are contradictory and often obscure. Events of the narrative are especially confusing, especially as it reaches a bloody climax that ends with a picnic where six people are hacked to death. This event is related by the...
Samuel Pepys’ “Frolique” is a Picnic

Samuel Pepys’ “Frolique” is a Picnic

Samuel Pepys’ “frolique” is our picnic was a favorite way for him to spend an afternoon with friends idling. We know this from his Diary, a frank glimpse of his personal and professional lives, begun when he was thirty-seven, and continued for the next decade. Among...
Gustave Courbet’s  Le Repas de Chasse

Gustave Courbet’s Le Repas de Chasse

Courbet hugely enjoyed the hunt, and at the center of Le Repas de Chasse, he painted himself nearly life-size. Believing himself an embodiment of the hunter, who he considered embodying the spirit of liberty, “un homme libre,” he was proud of his skill, once bragging...
Pál Szinyei Merse’s  Majális

Pál Szinyei Merse’s Majális

Majális is Pál Szinyei Merse’s staid Hungarian middle-class-style homage to Manet’s Dejeuner sur L’herbe. Everyone is buttoned-up. Though this is obviously a picnic, the title means “Mayfair.” Merse does not use the Hungarian loanword piknik or the expression jó s...
Ford Motors’ Touring Car Picnic in Advertisement

Ford Motors’ Touring Car Picnic in Advertisement

Twentieth Century motoring greatly expanded opportunities for picnicking by allowing anyone to enjoy the freedom of the road. Fords were ubiquitous cars , and in this advertisement, they reinforced their dominance by claiming “Wherever you live—in town or...
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...