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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.Pale FireVladimir Nabokov196213.19
2Mark as read.Another CountryJames Baldwin196212.26
3Mark as read.One Flew Over the Cuckoo's NestKen Kesey196211.60
4Mark as read.The ReiversWilliam Faulkner196210.55
5Mark as read.Ship of FoolsKatherine Anne Porter19629.29
6Mark as read.The Man in the High CastlePhilip K. Dick19629.26
7Mark as read.A Wrinkle in TimeMadeleine L'Engle19627.98
8Mark as read.The Ticket that ExplodedWilliam S. Burroughs19626.92
9Mark as read.Letting GoPhilip Roth19626.42
10Mark as read.The SlaveIsaac Bashevis Singer19626.32
11Mark as read.Pigeon FeathersJohn Updike19626.07
12Mark as read.Down There on a VisitChristopher Isherwood19625.96
13Mark as read.The Thin Red LineJames Jones19625.84
14Mark as read.Big SurJack Kerouac19625.23
15Mark as read.A Different DrummerWilliam Melvin Kelley19625.17
16Mark as read.Something Wicked this Way ComesRay Bradbury19624.47
17Mark as read.Going AwayClancy Sigal19624.32
18Mark as read.Seven Days in MayFletcher Knebel19623.42
19Mark as read.The Sand PebblesRichard McKenna19623.38
20Mark as read.SternBruce Jay Friedman19623.36
21Mark as read.Fire on the MountainEdward Abbey19623.36
22Mark as read.Eleven Kinds of LonelinessRichard Yates19623.34
23Mark as read.DayElie Wiesel19623.04
24Mark as read.The Jewels of AptorSamuel R. Delany19622.67
25Mark as read.A Shade of DifferenceAllen Drury19621.99
26Mark as read.Conditionally HumanWalter M. Miller, Jr.19621.91
27Mark as read.Morning in AntibesJohn Knowles19621.27
# Score
1Mark as read.Pale Fire (1962)
Vladimir Nabokov
13.19
2Mark as read.Another Country (1962)
James Baldwin
12.26
3Mark as read.One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1962)
Ken Kesey
11.60
4Mark as read.The Reivers (1962)
William Faulkner
10.55
5Mark as read.Ship of Fools (1962)
Katherine Anne Porter
9.29
6Mark as read.The Man in the High Castle (1962)
Philip K. Dick
9.26
7Mark as read.A Wrinkle in Time (1962)
Madeleine L'Engle
7.98
8Mark as read.The Ticket that Exploded (1962)
William S. Burroughs
6.92
9Mark as read.Letting Go (1962)
Philip Roth
6.42
10Mark as read.The Slave (1962)
Isaac Bashevis Singer
6.32
11Mark as read.Pigeon Feathers (1962)
John Updike
6.07
12Mark as read.Down There on a Visit (1962)
Christopher Isherwood
5.96
13Mark as read.The Thin Red Line (1962)
James Jones
5.84
14Mark as read.Big Sur (1962)
Jack Kerouac
5.23
15Mark as read.A Different Drummer (1962)
William Melvin Kelley
5.17
16Mark as read.Something Wicked this Way Comes (1962)
Ray Bradbury
4.47
17Mark as read.Going Away (1962)
Clancy Sigal
4.32
18Mark as read.Seven Days in May (1962)
Fletcher Knebel
3.42
19Mark as read.The Sand Pebbles (1962)
Richard McKenna
3.38
20Mark as read.Stern (1962)
Bruce Jay Friedman
3.36
21Mark as read.Fire on the Mountain (1962)
Edward Abbey
3.36
22Mark as read.Eleven Kinds of Loneliness (1962)
Richard Yates
3.34
23Mark as read.Day (1962)
Elie Wiesel
3.04
24Mark as read.The Jewels of Aptor (1962)
Samuel R. Delany
2.67
25Mark as read.A Shade of Difference (1962)
Allen Drury
1.99
26Mark as read.Conditionally Human (1962)
Walter M. Miller, Jr.
1.91
27Mark as read.Morning in Antibes (1962)
John Knowles
1.27

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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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