The dissertation is a consideration of the workings of secrecy in texts by five writers - Kant, Sade, Duras, Lispector and Bolaño. The first chapter, through a reading of Kant's Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone, and his Critique of Judgment, argues that the secret is that element of Kant's philosophy that allows us to conceive of a Kantian theory of community, one that is marked by an essential openness to the outside. The second chapter turns to Sade, and to a select group of his twentieth century readers, and posits the secret as an essentially political element in his work. If, as many observers have noted, the condition of violence in Sade is that it take place in secret, I argue that the very essence of this secret violence is to overflow the borders of its containment, but that this violence remains secret in its very openness, in its very becoming-public. My third chapter investigates what I refer to as the essential femininity of the secret, through a reading of Duras's The Ravishing of Lol V. Stein and Lispector's The Hour of the Star. Examining the workings of the veil in these novels, I argue that the veil opens onto a certain temporality, one that lies on the limit between present and future, a time of the "not yet." It is within this sliver of time, I contend, that a link between femininity and secrecy is established. The last chapter turns to the names of the dead (and specifically the names of dead women) in the work of Roberto Bolaño. I argue that proper names in Bolaño's work function essentially as divine names: rather than revealing any hidden meanings to us, they tell us absolutely nothing, and in so doing, open us up to what we are - open us, in other words, to our common being.