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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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Include only works published between and .

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.Slaughterhouse-FiveKurt Vonnegut196914.75
2Mark as read.Portnoy's ComplaintPhilip Roth196913.53
3Mark as read.The Way to Rainy MountainN. Scott Momaday196911.04
4Mark as read.The Left Hand of DarknessUrsula K. Le Guin196910.69
5Mark as read.The Chosen Place, the Timeless PeoplePaule Marshall19699.66
6Mark as read.The GodfatherMario Puzo19699.60
7Mark as read.Ada or ArdorVladimir Nabokov19697.77
8Mark as read.Yellow Back Radio Broke-DownIshmael Reed19696.97
9Mark as read.The Andromeda StrainMichael Crichton19696.65
10Mark as read.Collected StoriesJean Stafford19695.11
11Mark as read.The Spook Who Sat By The DoorSam Greenlee19695.00
12Mark as read.The PromiseChaim Potok19694.61
13Mark as read.Blind Man with a PistolChester Himes19694.58
14Mark as read.Pictures of FidelmanBernard Malamud19694.36
15Mark as read.themJoyce Carol Oates19694.35
16Mark as read.Bullet ParkJohn Cheever19694.35
17Mark as read.Dune MessiahFrank Herbert19693.56
18Mark as read.I Sing the Body ElectricRay Bradbury19693.45
19Mark as read.Fat CityLeonard Gardner19693.40
20Mark as read.This Day's DeathJohn Rechy19692.56
21Mark as read.The Ink TruckWilliam Kennedy19692.29
22Mark as read.A Special ProvidenceRichard Yates19692.22
23Mark as read.The Tremor of ForgeryPatricia Highsmith19692.10
# Score
1Mark as read.Slaughterhouse-Five (1969)
Kurt Vonnegut
14.75
2Mark as read.Portnoy's Complaint (1969)
Philip Roth
13.53
3Mark as read.The Way to Rainy Mountain (1969)
N. Scott Momaday
11.04
4Mark as read.The Left Hand of Darkness (1969)
Ursula K. Le Guin
10.69
5Mark as read.The Chosen Place, the Timeless People (1969)
Paule Marshall
9.66
6Mark as read.The Godfather (1969)
Mario Puzo
9.60
7Mark as read.Ada or Ardor (1969)
Vladimir Nabokov
7.77
8Mark as read.Yellow Back Radio Broke-Down (1969)
Ishmael Reed
6.97
9Mark as read.The Andromeda Strain (1969)
Michael Crichton
6.65
10Mark as read.Collected Stories (1969)
Jean Stafford
5.11
11Mark as read.The Spook Who Sat By The Door (1969)
Sam Greenlee
5.00
12Mark as read.The Promise (1969)
Chaim Potok
4.61
13Mark as read.Blind Man with a Pistol (1969)
Chester Himes
4.58
14Mark as read.Pictures of Fidelman (1969)
Bernard Malamud
4.36
15Mark as read.them (1969)
Joyce Carol Oates
4.35
16Mark as read.Bullet Park (1969)
John Cheever
4.35
17Mark as read.Dune Messiah (1969)
Frank Herbert
3.56
18Mark as read.I Sing the Body Electric (1969)
Ray Bradbury
3.45
19Mark as read.Fat City (1969)
Leonard Gardner
3.40
20Mark as read.This Day's Death (1969)
John Rechy
2.56
21Mark as read.The Ink Truck (1969)
William Kennedy
2.29
22Mark as read.A Special Providence (1969)
Richard Yates
2.22
23Mark as read.The Tremor of Forgery (1969)
Patricia Highsmith
2.10

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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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