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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.The Catcher in the RyeJ. D. Salinger195114.86
2Mark as read.Requiem for a NunWilliam Faulkner195114.79
3Mark as read.From Here to EternityJames Jones195110.09
4Mark as read.Lie Down in DarknessWilliam Styron19519.21
5Mark as read.The Caine MutinyHerman Wouk19519.19
6Mark as read.FoundationIsaac Asimov19518.77
7Mark as read.The Ugly AmericanWilliam Lederer19517.46
8Mark as read.The Ballad of the Sad CafeCarson McCullers19517.07
9Mark as read.Barbary ShoreNorman Mailer19516.83
10Mark as read.The Groves of AcademeMary McCarthy19516.21
11Mark as read.The Illustrated ManRay Bradbury19515.55
12Mark as read.The Morning WatchJames Agee19515.17
13Mark as read.Amos Fortune, Free ManElizabeth Yates19514.97
14Mark as read.The Holy SinnerThomas Mann19514.78
15Mark as read.The Grass HarpTruman Capote19514.44
16Mark as read.Return to ParadiseJames Michener19514.14
17Mark as read.The Puppet MastersRobert Heinlein19513.97
18Mark as read.World So WideSinclair Lewis19513.11
19Mark as read.The Strange ChildrenCaroline Gordon19513.04
20Mark as read.HangsamanShirley Jackson19512.78
21Mark as read.One Lonely NightMickey Spillane19512.55
22Mark as read.Melville Goodwin USAJohn P. Marquand19512.51
# Score
1Mark as read.The Catcher in the Rye (1951)
J. D. Salinger
14.86
2Mark as read.Requiem for a Nun (1951)
William Faulkner
14.79
3Mark as read.From Here to Eternity (1951)
James Jones
10.09
4Mark as read.Lie Down in Darkness (1951)
William Styron
9.21
5Mark as read.The Caine Mutiny (1951)
Herman Wouk
9.19
6Mark as read.Foundation (1951)
Isaac Asimov
8.77
7Mark as read.The Ugly American (1951)
William Lederer
7.46
8Mark as read.The Ballad of the Sad Cafe (1951)
Carson McCullers
7.07
9Mark as read.Barbary Shore (1951)
Norman Mailer
6.83
10Mark as read.The Groves of Academe (1951)
Mary McCarthy
6.21
11Mark as read.The Illustrated Man (1951)
Ray Bradbury
5.55
12Mark as read.The Morning Watch (1951)
James Agee
5.17
13Mark as read.Amos Fortune, Free Man (1951)
Elizabeth Yates
4.97
14Mark as read.The Holy Sinner (1951)
Thomas Mann
4.78
15Mark as read.The Grass Harp (1951)
Truman Capote
4.44
16Mark as read.Return to Paradise (1951)
James Michener
4.14
17Mark as read.The Puppet Masters (1951)
Robert Heinlein
3.97
18Mark as read.World So Wide (1951)
Sinclair Lewis
3.11
19Mark as read.The Strange Children (1951)
Caroline Gordon
3.04
20Mark as read.Hangsaman (1951)
Shirley Jackson
2.78
21Mark as read.One Lonely Night (1951)
Mickey Spillane
2.55
22Mark as read.Melville Goodwin USA (1951)
John P. Marquand
2.51

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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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