Yoshi Furui’s article “‘Secret Emotions’: Disability in Public and Melville’s The Confidence-Man” will be published in Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies in 2013.
In recent years, disability studies scholarship has led critics to notice the cultural and historical significance of disability represented in Herman Melville’s works. This essay interrogates The Confidence-Man’s engagement with disability by focusing on its situatedness in public space. Through the examination of public space, language, and sympathy, he argues that at issue in The Confidence-Man is less the visible exteriority of disabled bodies in public than the hidden interiority—or what the narrator calls “secret emotions”—of those regarded as disabled.
Yoshiaki Furui is a third-year Ph.D. student in the English Department. As a Fulbright scholar from Japan, he is studying nineteenth-century American literature with a focus on Herman Melville. He has another publication on Melville: “‘No One Is His Own Sire’: Dead Letters and Kinship in Melville’s Pierre.” The Journal of the American Literature Society of Japan 8 (2010): 1-17. His advisor is Professor Benjamin Reiss.