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Victorian Secrecy: Economies of Knowledge and Concealment, edited by Albert D. Pionke and Denise Tischler Millstein; pp. xii + 225. Aldershot and Burlington: Ashgate, 2010, 55.00 [pounds sterling], $99.95.
Readers of Victorian Studies will probably know the story of the dying Luddite. Looking up at the clergyman hovering over his bed, he asked, "Can you keep a secret?" When the clergyman nodded in the affirmative, the Luddite winked and said, "So can I," and died. Secrets left untold die; neither the clergyman nor we will ever know the inner workings of the Luddite movement. Yet most secrets are known, or half-known; their afterlife is as intriguing as their original meaning. This collection of case studies will expand our understanding of how and why secrecy functioned in so many different venues and genres. While some authors continue to find Michel Foucault's influential writings useful, others suggest promising new approaches. As different critical paradigms are taken up, fresh insights into the "economies of knowledge and concealment" will come to the fore.
Albert D. Pionke's introduction surveys the different forms of secrecy, including deception, …