This essay, which examines the anxiety of influence of the postcolonial English-language novel, focuses on texts constituted by metropolitan (Western, European) forms of the realist novel, albeit in a reactive mode. I claim that postcolonial revisions of canonical novels reinvent the Eurocentric canon for a global age while enacting the death of the romance of the novel. The essay has three parts: the first examines V. S. Naipaul's vexed identification with and shadowing of Joseph Conrad; the second discusses J. M. Coetzee's deconstructive interpretation of the national and cultural provenance of the classic English novel; and the third explores contestations around questions of canonicity, fictionality, and the historical embeddedness of postcolonial novels.

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