Across Property Lines: Textual Ownership in Writing Groups by Candace Spigelman

By Candace Spigelman

Candace Spigelman investigates the dynamics of possession in small crew writing workshops, basing her findings on case reviews regarding teams: a five-member inventive writing workforce assembly per thirty days at a neighborhood Philadelphia espresso bar and a four-member college-level writing team assembly of their composition lecture room. She explores the connection among specific notions of highbrow estate inside each one staff in addition to the effectiveness of writing teams that embody those notions. Addressing the negotiations among the private and non-private domain names of writing inside those teams, she discovers that for either the devoted writers and the beginners, “values linked to textual possession play a very important function in writing crew performance.”


Spigelman discusses textual possession, highbrow estate, and writing workforce approaches after which reports theories when it comes to authorship and data making. After introducing the contributors in every one crew, discussing their texts, and describing their workshop classes, she examines the writers’ avowed and implied ideals approximately changing rules and maintaining person estate rights.


Spigelman stresses the mandatory pressure among person and social features of writing practices: She argues for the necessity to foster extra collaborative job between pupil writers by means of replicating the strategies of writers operating in nonacademic settings but additionally contends that each one writers has to be allowed to visualize their person business enterprise and authority as they compose. 

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Other kinds of cooperative literary 25 26 Crossing Property Lines arrangements involved more personal collaborations, such as those between Samuel Johnson and his colleagues (Woodmansee, “Author Effect” 17–24). Both Keats and Dreiser collaborated with “signi¤cant others” behind the scenes to produce their literary works (Stillinger 16–20, 160–61), and, in the cases of Coleridge and Wordsworth and of Eliot and Pound, writers of equal stature shared and modi¤ed each other’s essays and poems, although each published under his own name.

Understanding and response are dialectically merged and mutually condition each other,” creating a new conceptual horizon for both speaker and listener (282). Writing group members do not passively “receive” each other’s papers but creatively integrate them to arrive at an understanding of the work that is partly the writer’s and partly the reader’s. In order to discuss a work, the reader will need to employ the writer’s words and phrases, what Bakhtin terms speaking an “alien” discourse. At the same time, the reader will color those words with his or her own signi¤cations and intentions (355).

Further, writing groups may serve as sources of publication information and advice and as forums for public presentation to larger audiences. Writing teachers promote groups primarily to help students become better writers. Peer groups offer student writers a genuine audience that can ask for clari¤cation, point to discursive gaps, ¤nd errors, and provide purposes for writing beyond performance and evaluation. As a result, in peer groups writers often make meaningful, even dramatic, revisions (Nystrand and Brandt; Danis; Drechsel).

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