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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.House Made of DawnN. Scott Momaday196812.43
2Mark as read.Lost in the FunhouseJohn Barth196812.43
3Mark as read.CouplesJohn Updike196811.72
4Mark as read.Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?Philip K. Dick196811.06
5Mark as read.Tell Me How Long the Train's Been GoneJames Baldwin19686.35
6Mark as read.The Universal Baseball AssociationRobert Coover19686.29
7Mark as read.Expensive PeopleJoyce Carol Oates19686.23
8Mark as read.The PigmanPaul Zindel19686.13
9Mark as read.Outer DarkCormac McCarthy19685.86
10Mark as read.StepsJerzy Kosinski19685.85
11Mark as read.Welcome to the Monkey HouseKurt Vonnegut19685.45
12Mark as read.In Watermelon SugarRichard Brautigan19685.04
13Mark as read.Mosby's MemoirsSaul Bellow19684.79
14Mark as read.Myra BreckinridgeGore Vidal19684.67
15Mark as read.BloodlineErnest J. Gaines19684.45
16Mark as read.A Fan's NotesFrederick Exley19684.29
17Mark as read.Vanity of DuluozJack Kerouac19684.06
18Mark as read.Ramona the PestBeverly Cleary19683.93
19Mark as read.The Last UnicornPeter S. Beagle19683.67
20Mark as read.True GritCharles Portis19682.99
21Mark as read.a, A NovelAndy Warhol19682.97
22Mark as read.DagonFred Chappell19682.95
23Mark as read.Setting Free the BearsJohn Irving19682.95
24Mark as read.NovaSamuel R. Delany19682.63
25Mark as read.Preserve and ProtectAllen Drury19681.78
26Mark as read.The EdgePage Stegner19681.25
27Mark as read.UpRonald Sukenick19681.09
28Mark as read.The Broken PlaceMichael Shaara19680.32
# Score
1Mark as read.House Made of Dawn (1968)
N. Scott Momaday
12.43
2Mark as read.Lost in the Funhouse (1968)
John Barth
12.43
3Mark as read.Couples (1968)
John Updike
11.72
4Mark as read.Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968)
Philip K. Dick
11.06
5Mark as read.Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone (1968)
James Baldwin
6.35
6Mark as read.The Universal Baseball Association (1968)
Robert Coover
6.29
7Mark as read.Expensive People (1968)
Joyce Carol Oates
6.23
8Mark as read.The Pigman (1968)
Paul Zindel
6.13
9Mark as read.Outer Dark (1968)
Cormac McCarthy
5.86
10Mark as read.Steps (1968)
Jerzy Kosinski
5.85
11Mark as read.Welcome to the Monkey House (1968)
Kurt Vonnegut
5.45
12Mark as read.In Watermelon Sugar (1968)
Richard Brautigan
5.04
13Mark as read.Mosby's Memoirs (1968)
Saul Bellow
4.79
14Mark as read.Myra Breckinridge (1968)
Gore Vidal
4.67
15Mark as read.Bloodline (1968)
Ernest J. Gaines
4.45
16Mark as read.A Fan's Notes (1968)
Frederick Exley
4.29
17Mark as read.Vanity of Duluoz (1968)
Jack Kerouac
4.06
18Mark as read.Ramona the Pest (1968)
Beverly Cleary
3.93
19Mark as read.The Last Unicorn (1968)
Peter S. Beagle
3.67
20Mark as read.True Grit (1968)
Charles Portis
2.99
21Mark as read.a, A Novel (1968)
Andy Warhol
2.97
22Mark as read.Dagon (1968)
Fred Chappell
2.95
23Mark as read.Setting Free the Bears (1968)
John Irving
2.95
24Mark as read.Nova (1968)
Samuel R. Delany
2.63
25Mark as read.Preserve and Protect (1968)
Allen Drury
1.78
26Mark as read.The Edge (1968)
Page Stegner
1.25
27Mark as read.Up (1968)
Ronald Sukenick
1.09
28Mark as read.The Broken Place (1968)
Michael Shaara
0.32

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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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