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.


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Algorithm Modifications

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      AMERICAN FICTION 1800-1899

      1Add to wishlist.Moby DickHerman Melville1851111.59
      2Add to wishlist.The Scarlet LetterNathaniel Hawthorne185089.17
      3Add to wishlist.The AmericanHenry James187775.93*Corpus frequency correction applied.
      4Add to wishlist.Uncle Tom's CabinHarriet Beecher Stowe185274.99
      5Add to wishlist.The Portrait of a LadyHenry James188174.52
      6Add to wishlist.ConfidenceHenry James187967.56*Corpus frequency correction applied.
      7Add to wishlist.The Turn of the ScrewHenry James189864.10
      8Add to wishlist.Adventures of Huckleberry FinnMark Twain188463.57
      9Add to wishlist.Billy BuddHerman Melville189159.18
      10Add to wishlist.Looking BackwardEdward Bellamy188858.36
      11Add to wishlist.The Red Badge of CourageStephen Crane189556.40
      12Add to wishlist.The BostoniansHenry James188656.36
      13Add to wishlist.TypeeHerman Melville184655.13
      14Add to wishlist.The Confidence-ManHerman Melville185752.89
      15Add to wishlist.Pudd'nhead WilsonMark Twain189452.55
      16Add to wishlist.The House of the Seven GablesNathaniel Hawthorne185151.76
      17Add to wishlist.The Adventures of Tom SawyerMark Twain187650.77
      18Add to wishlist.The AwakeningKate Chopin189950.52
      19Add to wishlist.A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's CourtMark Twain188949.52
      20Add to wishlist.Washington SquareHenry James188048.20
      21Add to wishlist.Little WomenLouisa May Alcott186948.17
      22Add to wishlist.MardiHerman Melville184947.49
      23Add to wishlist.The Princess CasamassimaHenry James188647.12
      24Add to wishlist.Daisy MillerHenry James187847.08
      25Add to wishlist.The Marble FaunNathaniel Hawthorne186046.60
      26Add to wishlist.The Blithedale RomanceNathaniel Hawthorne185246.11
      27Add to wishlist.White-JacketHerman Melville185044.51
      28Add to wishlist.RedburnHerman Melville184942.47
      29Add to wishlist.Roderick HudsonHenry James187542.15
      30Add to wishlist.The PioneersJames Fenimore Cooper182340.88
      31Add to wishlist.Benito CerenoHerman Melville185540.62
      32Add to wishlist.DredHarriet Beecher Stowe185640.24
      33Add to wishlist.Twice-Told TalesNathaniel Hawthorne183738.41
      34Add to wishlist.The Prince and the PauperMark Twain188138.14
      35Add to wishlist.The Last of the MohicansJames Fenimore Cooper182637.94
      36Add to wishlist.The Tragic MuseHenry James189037.85
      37Add to wishlist.The EuropeansHenry James187837.70
      38Add to wishlist.What Maisie KnewHenry James189737.07
      39Add to wishlist.OmooHerman Melville184736.96
      40Add to wishlist.McTeagueFrank Norris189936.34
      41Add to wishlist.The Rise of Silas LaphamWilliam Dean Howells188536.31
      42Add to wishlist.The PrairieJames Fenimore Cooper182735.83
      43Add to wishlist.The Spoils of PoyntonHenry James189735.61
      44Add to wishlist.ClotelWilliam Wells Brown185335.28
      45Add to wishlist.A Hazard of New FortunesWilliam Dean Howells188934.43
      46Add to wishlist.The Aspern PapersHenry James188833.72
      47Add to wishlist.The Awkward AgeHenry James189933.72
      48Add to wishlist.The Gilded AgeCharles Dudley Warner187332.18
      49Add to wishlist.RamonaHelen Hunt Jackson188431.78
      50Add to wishlist.The Open BoatStephen Crane189830.47
      51Add to wishlist.The SpyJames Fenimore Cooper182130.40
      52Add to wishlist.The Country of the Pointed FirsSarah Orne Jewett189629.88
      53Add to wishlist.Israel PotterHerman Melville185529.46
      54Add to wishlist.Maggie: A Girl of the StreetsStephen Crane189329.00
      55Add to wishlist.Arthur MervynCharles Brockden Brown180028.61
      56Add to wishlist.The Narrative of Arthur Gordon PymEdgar Allan Poe183827.61
      57Add to wishlist.The DeerslayerJames Fenimore Cooper184127.58
      58Add to wishlist.A Modern InstanceWilliam Dean Howells188227.53
      59Add to wishlist.SalmagundiWashington Irving180826.97
      60Add to wishlist.Life in the Iron MillsRebecca Harding Davis186125.81
      61Add to wishlist.Little MenLouisa May Alcott187125.65
      62Add to wishlist.The MonsterStephen Crane189925.62
      63Add to wishlist.The Wide, Wide WorldSusan Warner185025.03
      64Add to wishlist.Pierre: or The AmbiguitiesHerman Melville185224.87
      65Add to wishlist.The Sketch Book of Geoffrey CrayonWashington Irving181924.56
      66Add to wishlist.In the CageHenry James189824.54
      67Add to wishlist.The Damnation of Theron WareHarold Frederic189623.85
      68Add to wishlist.The EncantadasHerman Melville185423.52
      69Add to wishlist.The Lesson of the MasterHenry James188823.38
      70Add to wishlist.The GrandissimesGeorge Washington Cable188023.19
      71Add to wishlist.Iola LeroyFrances Harper189223.14
      72Add to wishlist.The Minister's WooingHarriet Beecher Stowe185922.74
      73Add to wishlist.The PathfinderJames Fenimore Cooper184022.42
      74Add to wishlist.The Conjure WomanCharles Chesnutt189922.36
      75Add to wishlist.Ruth HallFanny Fern185422.34
      76Add to wishlist.Ragged DickHoratio Alger186822.20
      77Add to wishlist.Watch and WardHenry James187121.97
      78Add to wishlist.Indian SummerWilliam Dean Howells188621.82
      79Add to wishlist.Tom Sawyer AbroadMark Twain189421.49
      80Add to wishlist.The PilotJames Fenimore Cooper180021.31
      81Add to wishlist.Personal Recollections of Joan of ArcMark Twain189620.91
      82Add to wishlist.Our NigHarriet E. Wilson185920.87
      83Add to wishlist.HobomokLydia Maria Child182420.83
      84Add to wishlist.Home as FoundJames Fenimore Cooper180020.81
      85Add to wishlist.Hope LeslieCatharine Maria Sedgwick182720.56
      86Add to wishlist.The Luck of Roaring CampBret Harte187020.12
      87Add to wishlist.Sut LovingoodGeorge Washington Harris186719.90
      88Add to wishlist.The American ClaimantMark Twain189219.48
      89Add to wishlist.The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras CountyMark Twain186919.22
      90Add to wishlist.Tom Sawyer, DetectiveMark Twain189618.95
      91Add to wishlist.Oldtown FolksHarriet Beecher Stowe186918.73
      92Add to wishlist.Blake, or The Huts of AmericaMartin Delany185918.51
      93Add to wishlist.A Traveler from AltruriaWilliam Dean Howells189418.38
      94Add to wishlist.Tales of the Grotesque and ArabesqueEdgar Allan Poe183918.22
      95Add to wishlist.Little Lord FauntleroyFrances Hodgson Burnett188618.02
      96Add to wishlist.Madame de MauvesHenry James187417.89
      97Add to wishlist.Sketches New and OldMark Twain187517.87
      98Add to wishlist.The Squatter and the DonMaria Amparo Ruiz de Burton188517.77
      99Add to wishlist.The ReverberatorHenry James188817.59
      100Add to wishlist.MargaretSylvester Judd184517.46


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          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.