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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.The Bell JarSylvia Plath196313.25
2Mark as read.VThomas Pynchon196311.09
3Mark as read.Cat's CradleKurt Vonnegut196310.25
4Mark as read.City of NightJohn Rechy19639.07
5Mark as read.The CentaurJohn Updike19638.49
6Mark as read.Lawd TodayRichard Wright19637.38
7Mark as read.The GroupMary McCarthy19636.88
8Mark as read.Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An IntroductionJ. D. Salinger19635.70
9Mark as read.The BenefactorSusan Sontag19635.19
10Mark as read.Visions of GerardJack Kerouac19635.05
11Mark as read.Leaving CheyenneLarry McMurtry19634.61
12Mark as read.Idiots FirstBernard Malamud19634.42
13Mark as read.The GraduateCharles Webb19633.27
14Mark as read.Something in Common and Other StoriesLangston Hughes19633.19
15Mark as read.Run, RiverJoan Didion19632.97
16Mark as read.Making DoPaul Goodman19632.64
17Mark as read.CaravansJames Michener19632.29
18Mark as read.Joy in the MorningBetty Smith19631.91
19Mark as read.The Living ReedPearl S. Buck19631.60
20Mark as read.Georgie WinthropSloan Wilson19631.36
21Mark as read.John Goldfarb, Please Come HomeWilliam Peter Blatty19631.21
22Mark as read.Captives of the FlameSamuel R. Delany19630.73
# Score
1Mark as read.The Bell Jar (1963)
Sylvia Plath
13.25
2Mark as read.V (1963)
Thomas Pynchon
11.09
3Mark as read.Cat's Cradle (1963)
Kurt Vonnegut
10.25
4Mark as read.City of Night (1963)
John Rechy
9.07
5Mark as read.The Centaur (1963)
John Updike
8.49
6Mark as read.Lawd Today (1963)
Richard Wright
7.38
7Mark as read.The Group (1963)
Mary McCarthy
6.88
8Mark as read.Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction (1963)
J. D. Salinger
5.70
9Mark as read.The Benefactor (1963)
Susan Sontag
5.19
10Mark as read.Visions of Gerard (1963)
Jack Kerouac
5.05
11Mark as read.Leaving Cheyenne (1963)
Larry McMurtry
4.61
12Mark as read.Idiots First (1963)
Bernard Malamud
4.42
13Mark as read.The Graduate (1963)
Charles Webb
3.27
14Mark as read.Something in Common and Other Stories (1963)
Langston Hughes
3.19
15Mark as read.Run, River (1963)
Joan Didion
2.97
16Mark as read.Making Do (1963)
Paul Goodman
2.64
17Mark as read.Caravans (1963)
James Michener
2.29
18Mark as read.Joy in the Morning (1963)
Betty Smith
1.91
19Mark as read.The Living Reed (1963)
Pearl S. Buck
1.60
20Mark as read.Georgie Winthrop (1963)
Sloan Wilson
1.36
21Mark as read.John Goldfarb, Please Come Home (1963)
William Peter Blatty
1.21
22Mark as read.Captives of the Flame (1963)
Samuel R. Delany
0.73

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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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