“The Rain It Takes to Learn the Limits of the Self”

Wetness, Masculinity, and Neoliberal Erotics in Andrew McMillan's Playtime

in Journal of Bodies, Sexualities, and Masculinities
Author: Nicholas Hauck1
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  • 1 Brock University, Canada nhauck@brocku.ca
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Abstract

Andrew McMillan's poetics dissects the physical minutiae of love and desire, enacting ex post facto a sexual and sexualized innocent pleasure. The scenes play out places such as classrooms, trains, locker-rooms, phone booths, and attic bedrooms, and often reference liquids. Tears, sweat, rain, rivers, blood, and sperm are associated with loss and mourning, a wet erotic (childhood) innocence remembered from a dry(er) perspective of experience and awareness of masculinity. In a post-Thatcher neoliberal framework, McMillan explores scenes of masculinity. Playtime is divided into two parts; if these two parts can be provisionally labeled “before” and “after”—a facile distinction between innocence and experience—McMillan's style and form break down this narrative and open up to fluidity, questioning the possibilities of pleasure (in)formed by neoliberal ideals.

Contributor Notes

Nicholas Hauck is a Scholar, Writer, and Translator. His research focuses on the European avant-garde, twenty-first-century French and English poetry, literary theory, and translation theory and practice. In addition to his book on the German philosopher Walter Benjamin and his second book, forthcoming from Les Presses de l'Université de Montréal in 2021 titled L'Inhumain poétique, he has published several articles on poetics, aesthetics, and translation. Nicholas is cofounder of the Toronto Experimental Translation Collective, and he thinks about translation as embodied language performance. He is also editor of Modern Horizons Journal. He teaches French poetry and translation at Brock University and lives in Toronto. Email: nhauck@brocku.ca

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