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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 Bluest EyeToni Morrison197018.24
2Mark as read.Mr. Sammler's PlanetSaul Bellow197011.66
3Mark as read.DeliveranceJames Dickey19709.99
4Mark as read.The Third Life of Grange CopelandAlice Walker19708.56
5Mark as read.Islands in the StreamErnest Hemingway19708.50
6Mark as read.Losing BattlesEudora Welty19707.86
7Mark as read.Play it As It LaysJoan Didion19707.47
8Mark as read.Are You There God? It's Me, MargaretJudy Blume19706.36
9Mark as read.Bech: A BookJohn Updike19706.33
10Mark as read.Jonathan Livingston SeagullRichard Bach19706.16
11Mark as read.A Beggar in JerusalemElie Wiesel19704.96
12Mark as read.Love StoryErich Segal19704.84
13Mark as read.The Trumpet of the SwanE. B. White19704.67
14Mark as read.RingworldLarry Niven19704.57
15Mark as read.Ripley Under GroundPatricia Highsmith19703.84
16Mark as read.The Bay of NoonShirley Hazzard19703.50
17Mark as read.Desperate CharactersPaula Fox19703.32
18Mark as read.Tau ZeroPoul Anderson19703.28
19Mark as read.Lord of Dark PlacesHal Bennett19703.16
20Mark as read.Rich Man, Poor ManIrwin Shaw19702.89
21Mark as read.Dealing: or the Berkeley-to-Boston Forty-Brick Lost-Bag BluesMichael Crichton19701.54
# Score
1Mark as read.The Bluest Eye (1970)
Toni Morrison
18.24
2Mark as read.Mr. Sammler's Planet (1970)
Saul Bellow
11.66
3Mark as read.Deliverance (1970)
James Dickey
9.99
4Mark as read.The Third Life of Grange Copeland (1970)
Alice Walker
8.56
5Mark as read.Islands in the Stream (1970)
Ernest Hemingway
8.50
6Mark as read.Losing Battles (1970)
Eudora Welty
7.86
7Mark as read.Play it As It Lays (1970)
Joan Didion
7.47
8Mark as read.Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret (1970)
Judy Blume
6.36
9Mark as read.Bech: A Book (1970)
John Updike
6.33
10Mark as read.Jonathan Livingston Seagull (1970)
Richard Bach
6.16
11Mark as read.A Beggar in Jerusalem (1970)
Elie Wiesel
4.96
12Mark as read.Love Story (1970)
Erich Segal
4.84
13Mark as read.The Trumpet of the Swan (1970)
E. B. White
4.67
14Mark as read.Ringworld (1970)
Larry Niven
4.57
15Mark as read.Ripley Under Ground (1970)
Patricia Highsmith
3.84
16Mark as read.The Bay of Noon (1970)
Shirley Hazzard
3.50
17Mark as read.Desperate Characters (1970)
Paula Fox
3.32
18Mark as read.Tau Zero (1970)
Poul Anderson
3.28
19Mark as read.Lord of Dark Places (1970)
Hal Bennett
3.16
20Mark as read.Rich Man, Poor Man (1970)
Irwin Shaw
2.89
21Mark as read.Dealing: or the Berkeley-to-Boston Forty-Brick Lost-Bag Blues (1970)
Michael Crichton
1.54

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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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