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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 Crying of Lot 49Thomas Pynchon196616.60
2Mark as read.The FixerBernard Malamud196611.53
3Mark as read.JubileeMargaret Walker196611.38
4Mark as read.Giles Goat-BoyJohn Barth19669.38
5Mark as read.The Last GentlemanWalker Percy19668.67
6Mark as read.The Gates of the ForestElie Wiesel19666.39
7Mark as read.The Last Picture ShowLarry McMurtry19666.29
8Mark as read.The Moon is a Harsh MistressRobert Heinlein19665.58
9Mark as read.Omensetter's LuckWilliam Gass19665.12
10Mark as read.The Origin of the BrunistsRobert Coover19665.05
11Mark as read.Babel-17Samuel R. Delany19664.52
12Mark as read.Valley of the DollsJacqueline Susann19663.98
13Mark as read.Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to MeRichard Farina19663.53
14Mark as read.The EmbezzlerLouis Auchincloss19663.28
15Mark as read.Up Above the WorldPaul Bowles19663.23
16Mark as read.Big as LifeE. L. Doctorow19662.94
17Mark as read.Empire StarSamuel R. Delany19662.74
18Mark as read.Capable of HonorAllen Drury19662.43
19Mark as read.The Last CastleJack Vance19661.99
20Mark as read.A Wilderness of VinesHal Bennett19661.79
21Mark as read.The Runaway Summer of Davie ShawMario Puzo19660.00
# Score
1Mark as read.The Crying of Lot 49 (1966)
Thomas Pynchon
16.60
2Mark as read.The Fixer (1966)
Bernard Malamud
11.53
3Mark as read.Jubilee (1966)
Margaret Walker
11.38
4Mark as read.Giles Goat-Boy (1966)
John Barth
9.38
5Mark as read.The Last Gentleman (1966)
Walker Percy
8.67
6Mark as read.The Gates of the Forest (1966)
Elie Wiesel
6.39
7Mark as read.The Last Picture Show (1966)
Larry McMurtry
6.29
8Mark as read.The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (1966)
Robert Heinlein
5.58
9Mark as read.Omensetter's Luck (1966)
William Gass
5.12
10Mark as read.The Origin of the Brunists (1966)
Robert Coover
5.05
11Mark as read.Babel-17 (1966)
Samuel R. Delany
4.52
12Mark as read.Valley of the Dolls (1966)
Jacqueline Susann
3.98
13Mark as read.Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me (1966)
Richard Farina
3.53
14Mark as read.The Embezzler (1966)
Louis Auchincloss
3.28
15Mark as read.Up Above the World (1966)
Paul Bowles
3.23
16Mark as read.Big as Life (1966)
E. L. Doctorow
2.94
17Mark as read.Empire Star (1966)
Samuel R. Delany
2.74
18Mark as read.Capable of Honor (1966)
Allen Drury
2.43
19Mark as read.The Last Castle (1966)
Jack Vance
1.99
20Mark as read.A Wilderness of Vines (1966)
Hal Bennett
1.79
21Mark as read.The Runaway Summer of Davie Shaw (1966)
Mario Puzo
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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