Publicity, privacy, and “happy deaths” in Fiji



In this article, I investigate death as a nexus around which public–private distinctions are made. An examination of Methodist missionary efforts at entextualizing “happy deaths” in 19th-century Fiji shows how the missionaries both attempted to create a Christian reading public “back home” but also unintentionally helped create a new private zone of the demonic. I analyze the private demonic zone through the constricted circulation of particular narratives heard after the death of a high chief in 2003.