We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Across Property Lines

Textual Ownership in Writing Groups

Candace Spigelman

Publication Year: 2000

Candace Spigelman investigates the dynamics of ownership in small group writing workshops, basing her findings on case studies involving two groups: a five-member creative writing group meeting monthly at a local Philadelphia coffee bar and a four-member college-level writing group meeting in their composition classroom. She explores the relationship between particular notions of intellectual property within each group as well as the effectiveness of writing groups that embrace these notions. Addressing the negotiations between the public and private domains of writing within these groups, she discovers that for both the committed writers and the novices, “values associated with textual ownership play a crucial role in writing group performance.”


Spigelman discusses textual ownership, intellectual property, and writing group processes and then reviews theories relating to authorship and knowledge making. After introducing the participants in each group, discussing their texts, and describing their workshop sessions, she examines the writers’ avowed and implied beliefs about exchanging ideas and protecting individual property rights.


Spigelman stresses the necessary tension between individual and social aspects of writing practices: She argues for the need to foster more collaborative activity among student writers by replicating the processes of writers working in nonacademic settings but also contends that all writers must be allowed to imagine their individual agency and authority as they compose. 

Published by: Southern Illinois University Press


pdf iconDownload PDF

Title page, Copyright page

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. i-vi


pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. vii-viii

Series Statement

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. ix-x

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. xi-xvi

Reading Candace Spigelman’s Across Property Lines has been important to me both as a practitioner and as a compositionist committed to bridging the public/private boundaries for writing. Spigelman’s study helps me understand...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. xvii-xx

Creative writers seem to worry little about the origins of their ideas. They take as given the myriad sources that shape their works. Student writers, on the other hand, worry a great deal. Indeed, the most vigilant often try to eradicate from their writing all traces...

read more

1. The Dialectics of Textual Ownership

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 1-24

For as long as I can remember, I have used peer groups in my writing classes. I have worked with groups who seemed naturally connected; groups who met eagerly and shared willingly; groups who needed prodding, continual monitoring, and modeling; and groups...

read more

2. Crossing Property Lines: Textual Ownership in a Working Writers’ Group

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 25-69

Despite its enduring popularity, the Romantic myth of the sequestered, garret-bound author is fiction. The long history of writing groups testifies to the inherently social dimensions of the writing process. Reaching back to the salon and the coffeehouse, writers and thinkers have sought to share...

read more

3. Recrossing Property Lines: Textual Ownership in a Student Writers’ Group

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 70-111

Concerns about ownership in the writing classroom are fitting. For more than a decade, composition scholars have warned writing teachers that their written or oral comments might wrest from their students ownership of their...

read more

4. Gaps and Intersections: Textual Ownership in Theory and Practice

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 112-146

By exploring the relationship between public and private notions of intellectual property and the activities of writing groups that embrace these notions, this study seeks to provide information that will be useful in guiding students toward more productive...

Appendix 1: The Essay Assignment

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 147-148

Appendix 2: Student Essays: Rough and Revised Drafts

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 149-156


pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 157-164

Works Cited

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 165-172


pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 173-177

Author Biography

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 178-178

Back Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 179-179

E-ISBN-13: 9780809390335
E-ISBN-10: 0809390337
Print-ISBN-13: 9780809322947
Print-ISBN-10: 0809322943

Page Count: 200
Publication Year: 2000

OCLC Number: 606241128
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Across Property Lines

Research Areas


Subject Headings

  • English language -- Rhetoric -- Study and teaching.
  • Creative writing -- Study and teaching.
  • Report writing -- Study and teaching.
  • Authorship -- Collaboration.
  • Group work in education.
  • Intellectual property.
  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access