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METACANON 0.7
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METACANON 0.7

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 0.7 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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19th Century
20th Century
1800 - Present
New York Times Archive

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










AMERICAN FICTION 1800-1899

# Title Author Year Score
1Mark as read.Moby DickHerman Melville185130.54
2Mark as read.Uncle Tom's CabinHarriet Beecher Stowe185225.96
3Mark as read.The Scarlet LetterNathaniel Hawthorne185025.11
4Mark as read.The Portrait of a LadyHenry James188122.57
5Mark as read.Adventures of Huckleberry FinnMark Twain188421.73
6Mark as read.Billy BuddHerman Melville189120.83
7Mark as read.TypeeHerman Melville184619.68
8Mark as read.The BostoniansHenry James188619.23
9Mark as read.Looking BackwardEdward Bellamy188819.12
10Mark as read.The Turn of the ScrewHenry James189819.02
11Mark as read.The Red Badge of CourageStephen Crane189518.98
12Mark as read.The House of the Seven GablesNathaniel Hawthorne185118.80
13Mark as read.A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's CourtMark Twain188918.54
14Mark as read.The AwakeningKate Chopin189918.39
15Mark as read.Pudd'nhead WilsonMark Twain189418.32
16Mark as read.The AmericanHenry James187718.16
17Mark as read.The Blithedale RomanceNathaniel Hawthorne185217.53
18Mark as read.The Adventures of Tom SawyerMark Twain187617.46
19Mark as read.Little WomenLouisa May Alcott186917.36
20Mark as read.RedburnHerman Melville184916.91
21Mark as read.MardiHerman Melville184916.80
22Mark as read.The Last of the MohicansJames Fenimore Cooper182616.80
23Mark as read.White-JacketHerman Melville185016.79
24Mark as read.The Marble FaunNathaniel Hawthorne186016.79
25Mark as read.ConfidenceHenry James187916.53
26Mark as read.The Princess CasamassimaHenry James188616.38
27Mark as read.Daisy MillerHenry James187816.27
28Mark as read.Benito CerenoHerman Melville185515.90
29Mark as read.The PioneersJames Fenimore Cooper182315.66
30Mark as read.The Confidence-ManHerman Melville185715.65
31Mark as read.ClotelWilliam Wells Brown185315.58
32Mark as read.Washington SquareHenry James188015.35
33Mark as read.Twice-Told TalesNathaniel Hawthorne183715.31
34Mark as read.What Maisie KnewHenry James189714.97
35Mark as read.The Rise of Silas LaphamWilliam Dean Howells188514.96
36Mark as read.Roderick HudsonHenry James187514.79
37Mark as read.DredHarriet Beecher Stowe185614.69
38Mark as read.McTeagueFrank Norris189914.40
39Mark as read.The Prince and the PauperMark Twain188114.13
40Mark as read.A Hazard of New FortunesWilliam Dean Howells188914.07
41Mark as read.OmooHerman Melville184713.96
42Mark as read.The PrairieJames Fenimore Cooper182713.47
43Mark as read.The Tragic MuseHenry James189013.27
44Mark as read.The Gilded AgeCharles Dudley Warner187313.16
45Mark as read.The Country of the Pointed FirsSarah Orne Jewett189613.13
46Mark as read.Maggie: A Girl of the StreetsStephen Crane189312.92
47Mark as read.RamonaHelen Hunt Jackson188412.68
48Mark as read.The EuropeansHenry James187812.66
49Mark as read.The SpyJames Fenimore Cooper182112.66
50Mark as read.Israel PotterHerman Melville185512.57
51Mark as read.The Wide, Wide WorldSusan Warner185012.49
52Mark as read.Life in the Iron MillsRebecca Harding Davis186112.35
53Mark as read.Little MenLouisa May Alcott187112.21
54Mark as read.Arthur MervynCharles Brockden Brown180012.09
55Mark as read.The Spoils of PoyntonHenry James189712.07
56Mark as read.The Narrative of Arthur Gordon PymEdgar Allan Poe183811.98
57Mark as read.Iola LeroyFrances Harper189211.81
58Mark as read.The Aspern PapersHenry James188811.80
59Mark as read.The Awkward AgeHenry James189911.80
60Mark as read.The Sketch Book of Geoffrey CrayonWashington Irving181911.75
61Mark as read.The Open BoatStephen Crane189811.66
62Mark as read.The DeerslayerJames Fenimore Cooper184111.56
63Mark as read.The GrandissimesGeorge Washington Cable188011.33
64Mark as read.The Minister's WooingHarriet Beecher Stowe185911.07
65Mark as read.A Modern InstanceWilliam Dean Howells188210.87
66Mark as read.Ruth HallFanny Fern185410.77
67Mark as read.Pierre: or The AmbiguitiesHerman Melville185210.74
68Mark as read.The Conjure WomanCharles Chesnutt189910.69
69Mark as read.Hope LeslieCatharine Maria Sedgwick182710.68
70Mark as read.The EncantadasHerman Melville185410.65
71Mark as read.The Damnation of Theron WareHarold Frederic189610.47
72Mark as read.Blake, or The Huts of AmericaMartin Delany185910.33
73Mark as read.The MonsterStephen Crane189910.30
74Mark as read.SalmagundiWashington Irving180810.27
75Mark as read.Our NigHarriet E. Wilson185910.15
76Mark as read.Ragged DickHoratio Alger18689.94
77Mark as read.HobomokLydia Maria Child18249.75
78Mark as read.The PathfinderJames Fenimore Cooper18409.54
79Mark as read.In the CageHenry James18989.48
80Mark as read.The Squatter and the DonMaria Amparo Ruiz de Burton18859.45
81Mark as read.Personal Recollections of Joan of ArcMark Twain18969.43
82Mark as read.Home as FoundJames Fenimore Cooper18009.24
83Mark as read.Little Lord FauntleroyFrances Hodgson Burnett18869.09
84Mark as read.A Traveler from AltruriaWilliam Dean Howells18949.06
85Mark as read.The Lesson of the MasterHenry James18888.99
86Mark as read.The PilotJames Fenimore Cooper18008.77
87Mark as read.The Luck of Roaring CampBret Harte18708.52
88Mark as read.Watch and WardHenry James18718.47
89Mark as read.Oldtown FolksHarriet Beecher Stowe18698.45
90Mark as read.Uncle Remus: His Songs and His SayingsJoel Chandler Harris18808.42
91Mark as read.Indian SummerWilliam Dean Howells18868.41
92Mark as read.Old Creole DaysGeorge Washington Cable18798.41
93Mark as read.The Quaker CityGeorge Lippard18458.34
94Mark as read.Tales of the Grotesque and ArabesqueEdgar Allan Poe18398.31
95Mark as read.The Hoosier SchoolmasterEdward Eggleston18718.25
96Mark as read.The LamplighterMaria Cummins18548.23
97Mark as read.The MorgesonsElizabeth Stoddard18628.14
98Mark as read.The American ClaimantMark Twain18928.09
99Mark as read.The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras CountyMark Twain18698.01
100Mark as read.Sketches New and OldMark Twain18757.87
# Score
1Mark as read.Moby Dick (1851)
Herman Melville
30.54
2Mark as read.Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852)
Harriet Beecher Stowe
25.96
3Mark as read.The Scarlet Letter (1850)
Nathaniel Hawthorne
25.11
4Mark as read.The Portrait of a Lady (1881)
Henry James
22.57
5Mark as read.Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884)
Mark Twain
21.73
6Mark as read.Billy Budd (1891)
Herman Melville
20.83
7Mark as read.Typee (1846)
Herman Melville
19.68
8Mark as read.The Bostonians (1886)
Henry James
19.23
9Mark as read.Looking Backward (1888)
Edward Bellamy
19.12
10Mark as read.The Turn of the Screw (1898)
Henry James
19.02
11Mark as read.The Red Badge of Courage (1895)
Stephen Crane
18.98
12Mark as read.The House of the Seven Gables (1851)
Nathaniel Hawthorne
18.80
13Mark as read.A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889)
Mark Twain
18.54
14Mark as read.The Awakening (1899)
Kate Chopin
18.39
15Mark as read.Pudd'nhead Wilson (1894)
Mark Twain
18.32
16Mark as read.The American (1877)
Henry James
18.16
17Mark as read.The Blithedale Romance (1852)
Nathaniel Hawthorne
17.53
18Mark as read.The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876)
Mark Twain
17.46
19Mark as read.Little Women (1869)
Louisa May Alcott
17.36
20Mark as read.Redburn (1849)
Herman Melville
16.91
21Mark as read.Mardi (1849)
Herman Melville
16.80
22Mark as read.The Last of the Mohicans (1826)
James Fenimore Cooper
16.80
23Mark as read.White-Jacket (1850)
Herman Melville
16.79
24Mark as read.The Marble Faun (1860)
Nathaniel Hawthorne
16.79
25Mark as read.Confidence (1879)
Henry James
16.53
26Mark as read.The Princess Casamassima (1886)
Henry James
16.38
27Mark as read.Daisy Miller (1878)
Henry James
16.27
28Mark as read.Benito Cereno (1855)
Herman Melville
15.90
29Mark as read.The Pioneers (1823)
James Fenimore Cooper
15.66
30Mark as read.The Confidence-Man (1857)
Herman Melville
15.65
31Mark as read.Clotel (1853)
William Wells Brown
15.58
32Mark as read.Washington Square (1880)
Henry James
15.35
33Mark as read.Twice-Told Tales (1837)
Nathaniel Hawthorne
15.31
34Mark as read.What Maisie Knew (1897)
Henry James
14.97
35Mark as read.The Rise of Silas Lapham (1885)
William Dean Howells
14.96
36Mark as read.Roderick Hudson (1875)
Henry James
14.79
37Mark as read.Dred (1856)
Harriet Beecher Stowe
14.69
38Mark as read.McTeague (1899)
Frank Norris
14.40
39Mark as read.The Prince and the Pauper (1881)
Mark Twain
14.13
40Mark as read.A Hazard of New Fortunes (1889)
William Dean Howells
14.07
41Mark as read.Omoo (1847)
Herman Melville
13.96
42Mark as read.The Prairie (1827)
James Fenimore Cooper
13.47
43Mark as read.The Tragic Muse (1890)
Henry James
13.27
44Mark as read.The Gilded Age (1873)
Charles Dudley Warner
13.16
45Mark as read.The Country of the Pointed Firs (1896)
Sarah Orne Jewett
13.13
46Mark as read.Maggie: A Girl of the Streets (1893)
Stephen Crane
12.92
47Mark as read.Ramona (1884)
Helen Hunt Jackson
12.68
48Mark as read.The Europeans (1878)
Henry James
12.66
49Mark as read.The Spy (1821)
James Fenimore Cooper
12.66
50Mark as read.Israel Potter (1855)
Herman Melville
12.57
51Mark as read.The Wide, Wide World (1850)
Susan Warner
12.49
52Mark as read.Life in the Iron Mills (1861)
Rebecca Harding Davis
12.35
53Mark as read.Little Men (1871)
Louisa May Alcott
12.21
54Mark as read.Arthur Mervyn (1800)
Charles Brockden Brown
12.09
55Mark as read.The Spoils of Poynton (1897)
Henry James
12.07
56Mark as read.The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym (1838)
Edgar Allan Poe
11.98
57Mark as read.Iola Leroy (1892)
Frances Harper
11.81
58Mark as read.The Aspern Papers (1888)
Henry James
11.80
59Mark as read.The Awkward Age (1899)
Henry James
11.80
60Mark as read.The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon (1819)
Washington Irving
11.75
61Mark as read.The Open Boat (1898)
Stephen Crane
11.66
62Mark as read.The Deerslayer (1841)
James Fenimore Cooper
11.56
63Mark as read.The Grandissimes (1880)
George Washington Cable
11.33
64Mark as read.The Minister's Wooing (1859)
Harriet Beecher Stowe
11.07
65Mark as read.A Modern Instance (1882)
William Dean Howells
10.87
66Mark as read.Ruth Hall (1854)
Fanny Fern
10.77
67Mark as read.Pierre: or The Ambiguities (1852)
Herman Melville
10.74
68Mark as read.The Conjure Woman (1899)
Charles Chesnutt
10.69
69Mark as read.Hope Leslie (1827)
Catharine Maria Sedgwick
10.68
70Mark as read.The Encantadas (1854)
Herman Melville
10.65
71Mark as read.The Damnation of Theron Ware (1896)
Harold Frederic
10.47
72Mark as read.Blake, or The Huts of America (1859)
Martin Delany
10.33
73Mark as read.The Monster (1899)
Stephen Crane
10.30
74Mark as read.Salmagundi (1808)
Washington Irving
10.27
75Mark as read.Our Nig (1859)
Harriet E. Wilson
10.15
76Mark as read.Ragged Dick (1868)
Horatio Alger
9.94
77Mark as read.Hobomok (1824)
Lydia Maria Child
9.75
78Mark as read.The Pathfinder (1840)
James Fenimore Cooper
9.54
79Mark as read.In the Cage (1898)
Henry James
9.48
80Mark as read.The Squatter and the Don (1885)
Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton
9.45
81Mark as read.Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc (1896)
Mark Twain
9.43
82Mark as read.Home as Found (1800)
James Fenimore Cooper
9.24
83Mark as read.Little Lord Fauntleroy (1886)
Frances Hodgson Burnett
9.09
84Mark as read.A Traveler from Altruria (1894)
William Dean Howells
9.06
85Mark as read.The Lesson of the Master (1888)
Henry James
8.99
86Mark as read.The Pilot (1800)
James Fenimore Cooper
8.77
87Mark as read.The Luck of Roaring Camp (1870)
Bret Harte
8.52
88Mark as read.Watch and Ward (1871)
Henry James
8.47
89Mark as read.Oldtown Folks (1869)
Harriet Beecher Stowe
8.45
90Mark as read.Uncle Remus: His Songs and His Sayings (1880)
Joel Chandler Harris
8.42
91Mark as read.Indian Summer (1886)
William Dean Howells
8.41
92Mark as read.Old Creole Days (1879)
George Washington Cable
8.41
93Mark as read.The Quaker City (1845)
George Lippard
8.34
94Mark as read.Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque (1839)
Edgar Allan Poe
8.31
95Mark as read.The Hoosier Schoolmaster (1871)
Edward Eggleston
8.25
96Mark as read.The Lamplighter (1854)
Maria Cummins
8.23
97Mark as read.The Morgesons (1862)
Elizabeth Stoddard
8.14
98Mark as read.The American Claimant (1892)
Mark Twain
8.09
99Mark as read.The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County (1869)
Mark Twain
8.01
100Mark as read.Sketches New and Old (1875)
Mark Twain
7.87

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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, a project created by Mark Davies.


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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 dagger.


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