This article illustrates how Black literary production in the Jim Crow era grappled with the necessity of seeking representation shaped by a historically dispossessory archive. In The Quest of the Silver Fleece (1911) the reinvention of swampland by an abandoned Black woman into a farmable and habitable settlement constitutes a form of recovery that would secure representation for Black tenant farmers. At the same time, the article argues, this act of recovery, much like the multigeneric and multivocal form of the novel itself, ultimately exceeds the forms of representation that, for W. E. B. Du Bois, both make Black subjectivity possible and seek to regulate it.

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