|Abstract||Rewriting assignments ask students to take a well-known text and change or add to it. Marjorie Curry Woods notes the "paradoxical combination of exact textual knowledge and the freedom to play with that knowledge" involved in such assignments (2). I argue that this paradox makes rewriting assignments both volatile and useful in the writing classroom. While not necessarily eliciting "personal writing" in the usual sense ("write about the most significant experience in your life," or "write about your summer vacation"), rewriting assignments do invite students to write according to their own textual desires. The process of rewriting can pay homage to a text, vilify a text, or even do both simultaneously. Rewriting--and the conversation surrounding it--is invariably, inevitably paradoxical. Proponents of rewriting exercises and assignments, with often vastly different and sometimes conflicting goals, play with polarities when they describe what they want students to do. There is a struggle between closing a text and opening it, restriction and freedom, fond appreciation and incisive critique, acceptance and rejection, imitation and originality, celebration and derisive mockery (not to mention loving deconstruction). The chapters of this dissertation explore these paradoxes. Chapter 1, "Rewriting and Revision," focuses principally on how the experience of rewriting differs from the experience of revision, particularly how attitudes toward the text that is changed differ in the two processes. Chapter 2, "Rewriting and Imitation," expands this account of attitudes toward texts in two ways, through a brief examination of classical imitation exercises and through a discussion of my students' own responses to imitation. Chapter 3, "Texts that Invite Rewriting," deploys the fiction of the text as agent to discuss sites in texts that seem to evoke active reader response, that seem to invite readerly participation. Chapter 4, "Passionate Rewriting," invokes Anne Ruggles Gere's notion of the "extracurriculum" to explore the activities of communities of rewriters outside the academy, fans who engage intensely with popular culture texts. Finally, Chapter 5, "The Politics of Textual Transformation," examines potentially conservative and radical dynamics of rewriting.