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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.Confessions of Nat TurnerWilliam Styron196713.99
2Mark as read.The Man Who Cried I AmJohn A. Williams19678.21
3Mark as read.Snow WhiteDonald Barthelme19677.97
4Mark as read.Trout Fishing in AmericaRichard Brautigan19677.13
5Mark as read.The ChosenChaim Potok19677.00
6Mark as read.The OutsidersS. E. Hinton19675.93
7Mark as read.The Eighth DayThornton Wilder19675.75
8Mark as read.The Einstein IntersectionSamuel R. Delany19675.26
9Mark as read.When She Was GoodPhilip Roth19675.12
10Mark as read.A Garden of Earthly DelightsJoyce Carol Oates19675.05
11Mark as read.NumbersJohn Rechy19674.98
12Mark as read.Death KitSusan Sontag19674.91
13Mark as read.A Place on EarthWendell Berry19674.87
14Mark as read.The Freelance PallbearersIshmael Reed19674.67
15Mark as read.Of Love and DustErnest J. Gaines19674.31
16Mark as read.Rosemary's BabyIra Levin19674.19
17Mark as read.The ArrangementElia Kazan19673.74
18Mark as read.ChristyCatherine Marshall19673.19
19Mark as read.demWilliam Melvin Kelley19673.04
20Mark as read.Coffee, Tea or Me?Donald Bain19672.32
21Mark as read.About UsChester Aaron19670.50
# Score
1Mark as read.Confessions of Nat Turner (1967)
William Styron
13.99
2Mark as read.The Man Who Cried I Am (1967)
John A. Williams
8.21
3Mark as read.Snow White (1967)
Donald Barthelme
7.97
4Mark as read.Trout Fishing in America (1967)
Richard Brautigan
7.13
5Mark as read.The Chosen (1967)
Chaim Potok
7.00
6Mark as read.The Outsiders (1967)
S. E. Hinton
5.93
7Mark as read.The Eighth Day (1967)
Thornton Wilder
5.75
8Mark as read.The Einstein Intersection (1967)
Samuel R. Delany
5.26
9Mark as read.When She Was Good (1967)
Philip Roth
5.12
10Mark as read.A Garden of Earthly Delights (1967)
Joyce Carol Oates
5.05
11Mark as read.Numbers (1967)
John Rechy
4.98
12Mark as read.Death Kit (1967)
Susan Sontag
4.91
13Mark as read.A Place on Earth (1967)
Wendell Berry
4.87
14Mark as read.The Freelance Pallbearers (1967)
Ishmael Reed
4.67
15Mark as read.Of Love and Dust (1967)
Ernest J. Gaines
4.31
16Mark as read.Rosemary's Baby (1967)
Ira Levin
4.19
17Mark as read.The Arrangement (1967)
Elia Kazan
3.74
18Mark as read.Christy (1967)
Catherine Marshall
3.19
19Mark as read.dem (1967)
William Melvin Kelley
3.04
20Mark as read.Coffee, Tea or Me? (1967)
Donald Bain
2.32
21Mark as read.About Us (1967)
Chester Aaron
0.50

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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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