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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

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# Title Author Year Score
1Mark as read.Tender is the NightF. Scott Fitzgerald193416.28
2Mark as read.Tropic of CancerHenry Miller193412.70
3Mark as read.Call It SleepHenry Roth193411.61
4Mark as read.Jonah's Gourd VineZora Neale Hurston19349.93
5Mark as read.The Postman Always Rings TwiceJames M. Cain19348.19
6Mark as read.A Cool MillionNathanael West19347.63
7Mark as read.The Ways of White FolksLangston Hughes19347.46
8Mark as read.Work of ArtSinclair Lewis19347.34
9Mark as read.The Thin ManDashiell Hammett19346.04
10Mark as read.Appointment in SamarraJohn O'Hara19345.97
11Mark as read.Now in NovemberJosephine Johnson19344.95
12Mark as read.Aleck Maury, SportsmanCaroline Gordon19343.03
13Mark as read.Summer in WilliamsburgDaniel Fuchs19343.02
14Mark as read.Mary PetersMary Ellen Chase19342.71
15Mark as read.Anitra's DanceFannie Hurst19341.20
16Mark as read.Montana Rides AgainEvan Evans19340.00
# Score
1Mark as read.Tender is the Night (1934)
F. Scott Fitzgerald
16.28
2Mark as read.Tropic of Cancer (1934)
Henry Miller
12.70
3Mark as read.Call It Sleep (1934)
Henry Roth
11.61
4Mark as read.Jonah's Gourd Vine (1934)
Zora Neale Hurston
9.93
5Mark as read.The Postman Always Rings Twice (1934)
James M. Cain
8.19
6Mark as read.A Cool Million (1934)
Nathanael West
7.63
7Mark as read.The Ways of White Folks (1934)
Langston Hughes
7.46
8Mark as read.Work of Art (1934)
Sinclair Lewis
7.34
9Mark as read.The Thin Man (1934)
Dashiell Hammett
6.04
10Mark as read.Appointment in Samarra (1934)
John O'Hara
5.97
11Mark as read.Now in November (1934)
Josephine Johnson
4.95
12Mark as read.Aleck Maury, Sportsman (1934)
Caroline Gordon
3.03
13Mark as read.Summer in Williamsburg (1934)
Daniel Fuchs
3.02
14Mark as read.Mary Peters (1934)
Mary Ellen Chase
2.71
15Mark as read.Anitra's Dance (1934)
Fannie Hurst
1.20
16Mark as read.Montana Rides Again (1934)
Evan Evans
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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