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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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Althorithm Modifications

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










# Title Author Year Score
1Mark as read.Autobiography of an Ex-Colored ManJames Weldon Johnson191213.81
2Mark as read.The FinancierTheodore Dreiser191211.41
3Mark as read.Alexander's BridgeWilla Cather19129.56
4Mark as read.Tarzan of the ApesEdgar Rice Burroughs19128.34
5Mark as read.The ReefEdith Wharton19127.17
6Mark as read.Riders of the Purple SageZane Grey19126.45
7Mark as read.Mrs. Spring FragranceEdith Eaton19125.36
8Mark as read.A Princess of MarsEdgar Rice Burroughs19125.27
9Mark as read.A Woman of GeniusMary Austin19124.24
10Mark as read.The Scarlet PlagueJack London19124.19
11Mark as read.Daddy-Long-LegsJean Webster19123.92
12Mark as read.Stover at YaleOwen Johnson19123.88
13Mark as read.KelroyRebecca Rush19123.63
14Mark as read.A Son of the SunJack London19122.22
15Mark as read.Hike and the AeroplaneSinclair Lewis19121.88
16Mark as read.Danny's Own StoryDon Marquis19121.33
17Mark as read.Sky IslandL. Frank Baum19120.90
# Score
1Mark as read.Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man (1912)
James Weldon Johnson
13.81
2Mark as read.The Financier (1912)
Theodore Dreiser
11.41
3Mark as read.Alexander's Bridge (1912)
Willa Cather
9.56
4Mark as read.Tarzan of the Apes (1912)
Edgar Rice Burroughs
8.34
5Mark as read.The Reef (1912)
Edith Wharton
7.17
6Mark as read.Riders of the Purple Sage (1912)
Zane Grey
6.45
7Mark as read.Mrs. Spring Fragrance (1912)
Edith Eaton
5.36
8Mark as read.A Princess of Mars (1912)
Edgar Rice Burroughs
5.27
9Mark as read.A Woman of Genius (1912)
Mary Austin
4.24
10Mark as read.The Scarlet Plague (1912)
Jack London
4.19
11Mark as read.Daddy-Long-Legs (1912)
Jean Webster
3.92
12Mark as read.Stover at Yale (1912)
Owen Johnson
3.88
13Mark as read.Kelroy (1912)
Rebecca Rush
3.63
14Mark as read.A Son of the Sun (1912)
Jack London
2.22
15Mark as read.Hike and the Aeroplane (1912)
Sinclair Lewis
1.88
16Mark as read.Danny's Own Story (1912)
Don Marquis
1.33
17Mark as read.Sky Island (1912)
L. Frank Baum
0.90

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Include only:


Include only works published between and .

Althorithm Modifications

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








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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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