Secret police agencies such as the East German Ministry for State Security kept enormous quantities of secrets about their own citizens, relying heavily on human modes of data collection in the form of informants. To date little is known about the complicated and conflicted lives of informers, who often lived in a perpetual state of secrecy. This is the first study of its kind to explore this secret surveillance society, its arcane rituals, and the secret lives it fostered. Through a series of interlocking, in-depth case studies of informers in literature and the arts, A State of Secrecy seeks answers to the question of how the collusion of the East German intelligentsia with the Stasi was possible and sustainable. It draws on extensive original archive research conducted in the BStU (Stasi Records Agency), as well as eyewitness testimony, literature, and film, and uses a broad array of methods from biography, sociology, cultural studies, and literary history to political science and surveillance and intelligence studies. In teasing out the various kinds of entanglements of intellectuals with power during the Cold War, Lewis presents a microhistory of the covert activities of those writers who colluded with the secret police.