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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.Death Comes for the ArchbishopWilla Cather192715.41
2Mark as read.The Bridge of San Luis ReyThornton Wilder19279.42
3Mark as read.Oil!Upton Sinclair19279.25
4Mark as read.Men without WomenErnest Hemingway19277.91
5Mark as read.Twilight SleepEdith Wharton19277.34
6Mark as read.MosquitosWilliam Faulkner19276.26
7Mark as read.Blue VoyageConrad Aiken19274.80
8Mark as read.A President Is BornFannie Hurst19271.08
9Mark as read.The Damned Agitator and Other StoriesMichael Gold19270.71
10Mark as read.Chains: Lesser Novels and StoriesTheodore Dreiser19270.32
11Mark as read.The AdulteressNorah E. Dunn19270.00
# Score
1Mark as read.Death Comes for the Archbishop (1927)
Willa Cather
15.41
2Mark as read.The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1927)
Thornton Wilder
9.42
3Mark as read.Oil! (1927)
Upton Sinclair
9.25
4Mark as read.Men without Women (1927)
Ernest Hemingway
7.91
5Mark as read.Twilight Sleep (1927)
Edith Wharton
7.34
6Mark as read.Mosquitos (1927)
William Faulkner
6.26
7Mark as read.Blue Voyage (1927)
Conrad Aiken
4.80
8Mark as read.A President Is Born (1927)
Fannie Hurst
1.08
9Mark as read.The Damned Agitator and Other Stories (1927)
Michael Gold
0.71
10Mark as read.Chains: Lesser Novels and Stories (1927)
Theodore Dreiser
0.32
11Mark as read.The Adulteress (1927)
Norah E. Dunn
0.00

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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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