This is not a greatest books list.

Metacanon is a database that offers an alternative to the genre of the greatest books list. Unlike lists compiled by individuals or small committees of experts, metacanon builds custom book lists by culling data from tens of thousands of scholarly texts. This data-driven approach results in a more comprehensive, flexible, and inclusive gateway into the canon(s).

Metacanon 0.9 is limited primarily to American fiction after 1800, but future updates will expand to include other areas, genres, and periods.

Use the menu below to generate your own version of the canon.


Include only works published between and .

Algorithm Modifications

Change the weight of these data points in order to change the shape of your canon.


      AMERICAN FICTION 1800-1899

      1Add to wishlist.Moby DickHerman Melville1851112.87
      2Add to wishlist.The Scarlet LetterNathaniel Hawthorne185089.45
      3Add to wishlist.Adventures of Huckleberry FinnMark Twain188482.82
      4Add to wishlist.The AmericanHenry James187776.48*Corpus frequency correction applied.
      5Add to wishlist.The Portrait of a LadyHenry James188176.41
      6Add to wishlist.Uncle Tom's CabinHarriet Beecher Stowe185275.28
      7Add to wishlist.ConfidenceHenry James187968.13*Corpus frequency correction applied.
      8Add to wishlist.The Turn of the ScrewHenry James189864.48
      9Add to wishlist.Billy BuddHerman Melville189161.25
      10Add to wishlist.The House of the Seven GablesNathaniel Hawthorne185157.94
      11Add to wishlist.The Red Badge of CourageStephen Crane189557.03
      12Add to wishlist.The BostoniansHenry James188655.57
      13Add to wishlist.TypeeHerman Melville184655.44
      14Add to wishlist.The Confidence-ManHerman Melville185754.84
      15Add to wishlist.Pudd'nhead WilsonMark Twain189452.69
      16Add to wishlist.The AwakeningKate Chopin189952.07
      17Add to wishlist.The Blithedale RomanceNathaniel Hawthorne185251.85
      18Add to wishlist.The Marble FaunNathaniel Hawthorne186051.63
      19Add to wishlist.The Adventures of Tom SawyerMark Twain187649.83
      20Add to wishlist.MardiHerman Melville184949.33
      21Add to wishlist.A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's CourtMark Twain188948.57
      22Add to wishlist.The Princess CasamassimaHenry James188648.17
      23Add to wishlist.Washington SquareHenry James188047.47
      24Add to wishlist.Daisy MillerHenry James187847.28
      25Add to wishlist.Looking BackwardEdward Bellamy188846.89
      26Add to wishlist.Little WomenLouisa May Alcott186945.68
      27Add to wishlist.Roderick HudsonHenry James187545.00
      28Add to wishlist.White-JacketHerman Melville185044.56
      29Add to wishlist.Benito CerenoHerman Melville185544.05
      30Add to wishlist.RedburnHerman Melville184941.77
      31Add to wishlist.The Prince and the PauperMark Twain188138.29
      32Add to wishlist.The Tragic MuseHenry James189038.15
      33Add to wishlist.Twice-Told TalesNathaniel Hawthorne183737.61
      34Add to wishlist.OmooHerman Melville184736.96
      35Add to wishlist.What Maisie KnewHenry James189736.83
      36Add to wishlist.McTeagueFrank Norris189936.66
      37Add to wishlist.The Rise of Silas LaphamWilliam Dean Howells188536.51
      38Add to wishlist.The PioneersJames Fenimore Cooper182336.42
      39Add to wishlist.The Spoils of PoyntonHenry James189736.36
      40Add to wishlist.The Aspern PapersHenry James188835.60
      41Add to wishlist.ClotelWilliam Wells Brown185335.02
      42Add to wishlist.The Last of the MohicansJames Fenimore Cooper182634.81
      43Add to wishlist.The EuropeansHenry James187834.53
      44Add to wishlist.A Hazard of New FortunesWilliam Dean Howells188933.79
      45Add to wishlist.The Awkward AgeHenry James189933.72
      46Add to wishlist.DredHarriet Beecher Stowe185633.57
      47Add to wishlist.The PrairieJames Fenimore Cooper182732.49
      48Add to wishlist.Israel PotterHerman Melville185530.50
      49Add to wishlist.The Open BoatStephen Crane189830.15
      50Add to wishlist.The Gilded AgeCharles Dudley Warner187329.76
      51Add to wishlist.The Narrative of Arthur Gordon PymEdgar Allan Poe183829.56
      52Add to wishlist.The Country of the Pointed FirsSarah Orne Jewett189629.38
      53Add to wishlist.Maggie: A Girl of the StreetsStephen Crane189329.12
      54Add to wishlist.The SpyJames Fenimore Cooper182127.88
      55Add to wishlist.A Modern InstanceWilliam Dean Howells188227.56
      56Add to wishlist.The DeerslayerJames Fenimore Cooper184127.38
      57Add to wishlist.Arthur MervynCharles Brockden Brown180027.37
      58Add to wishlist.The MonsterStephen Crane189926.47
      59Add to wishlist.Pierre: or The AmbiguitiesHerman Melville185226.23
      60Add to wishlist.Iola LeroyFrances Harper189226.04
      61Add to wishlist.In the CageHenry James189825.80
      62Add to wishlist.The Conjure WomanCharles Chesnutt189925.11
      63Add to wishlist.Little MenLouisa May Alcott187124.87
      64Add to wishlist.The EncantadasHerman Melville185424.67
      65Add to wishlist.The Lesson of the MasterHenry James188824.51
      66Add to wishlist.Life in the Iron MillsRebecca Harding Davis186124.47
      67Add to wishlist.RamonaHelen Hunt Jackson188424.13
      68Add to wishlist.The Wide, Wide WorldSusan Warner185023.92
      69Add to wishlist.The Sketch Book of Geoffrey CrayonWashington Irving181923.87
      70Add to wishlist.The Damnation of Theron WareHarold Frederic189623.81
      71Add to wishlist.The GrandissimesGeorge Washington Cable188023.48
      72Add to wishlist.SalmagundiWashington Irving180822.87
      73Add to wishlist.Personal Recollections of Joan of ArcMark Twain189622.48
      74Add to wishlist.The PathfinderJames Fenimore Cooper184022.37
      75Add to wishlist.Watch and WardHenry James187122.37
      76Add to wishlist.Indian SummerWilliam Dean Howells188622.00
      77Add to wishlist.Ruth HallFanny Fern185421.93
      78Add to wishlist.Tom Sawyer AbroadMark Twain189421.86
      79Add to wishlist.Our NigHarriet E. Wilson185921.16
      80Add to wishlist.The Minister's WooingHarriet Beecher Stowe185921.11
      81Add to wishlist.Hope LeslieCatharine Maria Sedgwick182721.05
      82Add to wishlist.HobomokLydia Maria Child182420.26
      83Add to wishlist.The PilotJames Fenimore Cooper180020.05
      84Add to wishlist.Sut LovingoodGeorge Washington Harris186719.68
      85Add to wishlist.The American ClaimantMark Twain189219.64
      86Add to wishlist.Home as FoundJames Fenimore Cooper180019.55
      87Add to wishlist.Tom Sawyer, DetectiveMark Twain189619.30
      88Add to wishlist.Tales of the Grotesque and ArabesqueEdgar Allan Poe183919.12
      89Add to wishlist.The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras CountyMark Twain186918.83
      90Add to wishlist.Blake, or The Huts of AmericaMartin Delany185918.82
      91Add to wishlist.The Luck of Roaring CampBret Harte187018.43
      92Add to wishlist.Ragged DickHoratio Alger186818.41
      93Add to wishlist.Madame de MauvesHenry James187418.41
      94Add to wishlist.The ReverberatorHenry James188818.06
      95Add to wishlist.Oldtown FolksHarriet Beecher Stowe186917.70
      96Add to wishlist.Sketches New and OldMark Twain187517.69
      97Add to wishlist.The Wife of His YouthCharles Chesnutt189917.27
      98Add to wishlist.A Traveler from AltruriaWilliam Dean Howells189417.14
      99Add to wishlist.The LamplighterMaria Cummins185417.01
      100Add to wishlist.The Squatter and the DonMaria Amparo Ruiz de Burton188517.00


      You must be logged in to do that.

      Click here to log in or register.


          N-gram Frequency Correction.

          Titles consisting of words or phrases that are exceedingly common in the English language corpus (such as Stephen King's It or Joyce Carol Oates's them) tend to be overrepresented in search results, thus resulting in an articially inflated citation count. To counteract this tendency, Metacanon adjusts the scores for these works accordingly. Scores subjected to n-gram frequency correction are estimates only and are marked with an asterisk. N-gram freqencies are drawn from the Corpus of Contemporary American English.

          We apply a slightly different n-gram frequency correction to New York Times citation counts. These are marked with a dagger, where applicable.


          Non-unique author Correction.

          Books by authors with a non-unique name (for example "Winston Churchill," the American novelist) tend to be overrepresented in search results, thus resulting in an articially inflated citation count. To counteract this tendency, Metacanon adjusts the scores for these works accordingly. Scores subjected to non-unique author correction are estimates only and are marked with a double dagger.