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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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# Title Author Year Score
1Mark as read.Catch-22Joseph Heller196114.17
2Mark as read.The MoviegoerWalker Percy196112.56
3Mark as read.Franny and ZooeyJ. D. Salinger19619.71
4Mark as read.A New LifeBernard Malamud19618.77
5Mark as read.Revolutionary RoadRichard Yates19618.68
6Mark as read.The Winter of Our DiscontentJohn Steinbeck19618.33
7Mark as read.Tell Me a RiddleTillie Olsen19618.24
8Mark as read.Eat a Bowl of TeaLouis Chu19617.89
9Mark as read.Mother NightKurt Vonnegut19617.79
10Mark as read.Stranger in a Strange LandRobert Heinlein19617.72
11Mark as read.Eight MenRichard Wright19617.21
12Mark as read.The Soft MachineWilliam S. Burroughs19616.44
13Mark as read.DawnElie Wiesel19616.44
14Mark as read.The PawnbrokerEdward Lewis Wallant19615.68
15Mark as read.The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other StoriesErnest Hemingway19615.51
16Mark as read.Where the Red Fern GrowsWilson Rawls19615.26
17Mark as read.Horseman, Pass ByLarry McMurtry19615.01
18Mark as read.The Agony and the EcstasyIrving Stone19614.76
19Mark as read.The Spinoza of Market StreetIsaac Bashevis Singer19614.75
20Mark as read.Mila 18Leon Uris19613.99
21Mark as read.The Edge of SadnessEdwin O'Connor19613.79
22Mark as read.April MorningHoward Fast19613.53
23Mark as read.Among the DangsGeorge P. Elliott19612.74
24Mark as read.Wilderness: A Tale of the Civil WarRobert Penn Warren19612.52
25Mark as read.The ChateauWilliam Maxwell19612.42
26Mark as read.False EntryHortense Calisher19611.69
27Mark as read.Successful Love and Other StoriesDelmore Schwartz19610.82
28Mark as read.The Angry EspersLloyd Biggle, Jr.19610.00
# Score
1Mark as read.Catch-22 (1961)
Joseph Heller
14.17
2Mark as read.The Moviegoer (1961)
Walker Percy
12.56
3Mark as read.Franny and Zooey (1961)
J. D. Salinger
9.71
4Mark as read.A New Life (1961)
Bernard Malamud
8.77
5Mark as read.Revolutionary Road (1961)
Richard Yates
8.68
6Mark as read.The Winter of Our Discontent (1961)
John Steinbeck
8.33
7Mark as read.Tell Me a Riddle (1961)
Tillie Olsen
8.24
8Mark as read.Eat a Bowl of Tea (1961)
Louis Chu
7.89
9Mark as read.Mother Night (1961)
Kurt Vonnegut
7.79
10Mark as read.Stranger in a Strange Land (1961)
Robert Heinlein
7.72
11Mark as read.Eight Men (1961)
Richard Wright
7.21
12Mark as read.The Soft Machine (1961)
William S. Burroughs
6.44
13Mark as read.Dawn (1961)
Elie Wiesel
6.44
14Mark as read.The Pawnbroker (1961)
Edward Lewis Wallant
5.68
15Mark as read.The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories (1961)
Ernest Hemingway
5.51
16Mark as read.Where the Red Fern Grows (1961)
Wilson Rawls
5.26
17Mark as read.Horseman, Pass By (1961)
Larry McMurtry
5.01
18Mark as read.The Agony and the Ecstasy (1961)
Irving Stone
4.76
19Mark as read.The Spinoza of Market Street (1961)
Isaac Bashevis Singer
4.75
20Mark as read.Mila 18 (1961)
Leon Uris
3.99
21Mark as read.The Edge of Sadness (1961)
Edwin O'Connor
3.79
22Mark as read.April Morning (1961)
Howard Fast
3.53
23Mark as read.Among the Dangs (1961)
George P. Elliott
2.74
24Mark as read.Wilderness: A Tale of the Civil War (1961)
Robert Penn Warren
2.52
25Mark as read.The Chateau (1961)
William Maxwell
2.42
26Mark as read.False Entry (1961)
Hortense Calisher
1.69
27Mark as read.Successful Love and Other Stories (1961)
Delmore Schwartz
0.82
28Mark as read.The Angry Espers (1961)
Lloyd Biggle, Jr.
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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