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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.As I Lay DyingWilliam Faulkner193016.93
2Mark as read.The Maltese FalconDashiell Hammett193010.04
3Mark as read.Not Without LaughterLangston Hughes19308.51
4Mark as read.Jews Without MoneyMichael Gold19308.21
5Mark as read.The 42nd Parallel John Dos Passos19308.13
6Mark as read.The Woman of AndrosThornton Wilder19304.45
7Mark as read.Flowering Judas and Other StoriesKatherine Anne Porter19304.27
8Mark as read.StrikeMary Heaton Vorse19303.30
9Mark as read.East Wind: West WindPearl S. Buck19303.25
10Mark as read.Years of GraceMargaret Ayer Barnes19301.82
11Mark as read.Answer Before DarkElizabeth Moorhead19300.00
# Score
1Mark as read.As I Lay Dying (1930)
William Faulkner
16.93
2Mark as read.The Maltese Falcon (1930)
Dashiell Hammett
10.04
3Mark as read.Not Without Laughter (1930)
Langston Hughes
8.51
4Mark as read.Jews Without Money (1930)
Michael Gold
8.21
5Mark as read.The 42nd Parallel (1930)
John Dos Passos
8.13
6Mark as read.The Woman of Andros (1930)
Thornton Wilder
4.45
7Mark as read.Flowering Judas and Other Stories (1930)
Katherine Anne Porter
4.27
8Mark as read.Strike (1930)
Mary Heaton Vorse
3.30
9Mark as read.East Wind: West Wind (1930)
Pearl S. Buck
3.25
10Mark as read.Years of Grace (1930)
Margaret Ayer Barnes
1.82
11Mark as read.Answer Before Dark (1930)
Elizabeth Moorhead
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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