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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.Tar BabyToni Morrison198112.69
2Mark as read.StorytellerLeslie Marmon Silko198111.84
3Mark as read.Rabbit is RichJohn Updike19819.18
4Mark as read.The Chaneysville IncidentDavid Bradley19818.47
5Mark as read.Zuckerman UnboundPhilip Roth19818.45
6Mark as read.What We Talk About When We Talk About LoveRaymond Carver19817.49
7Mark as read.ValisPhilip K. Dick19816.71
8Mark as read.Cities of the Red NightWilliam S. Burroughs19816.28
9Mark as read.A Mother and Two DaughtersGail Godwin19815.21
10Mark as read.Loon LakeE. L. Doctorow19815.18
11Mark as read.The Company of WomenMary Gordon19815.06
12Mark as read.The Hotel New HampshireJohn Irving19814.92
13Mark as read.A Flag for SunriseRobert Stone19814.88
14Mark as read.Sixty StoriesDonald Barthelme19814.73
15Mark as read.The Book of LightsChaim Potok19814.21
16Mark as read.The TestamentElie Wiesel19813.86
17Mark as read.Little, BigJohn Crowley19812.99
18Mark as read.Ellis IslandMark Helprin19812.87
19Mark as read.The Ultimate Good LuckRichard Ford19812.81
20Mark as read.The Alleys of EdenRobert Olen Butler19812.79
21Mark as read.Original SinsLisa Alther19812.66
22Mark as read.The War of the RosesWarren Adler19811.38
23Mark as read.Rhinestone SharecroppingBill Gunn19811.35
24Mark as read.The Noah ConspiracyMichael Shaara19810.00
# Score
1Mark as read.Tar Baby (1981)
Toni Morrison
12.69
2Mark as read.Storyteller (1981)
Leslie Marmon Silko
11.84
3Mark as read.Rabbit is Rich (1981)
John Updike
9.18
4Mark as read.The Chaneysville Incident (1981)
David Bradley
8.47
5Mark as read.Zuckerman Unbound (1981)
Philip Roth
8.45
6Mark as read.What We Talk About When We Talk About Love (1981)
Raymond Carver
7.49
7Mark as read.Valis (1981)
Philip K. Dick
6.71
8Mark as read.Cities of the Red Night (1981)
William S. Burroughs
6.28
9Mark as read.A Mother and Two Daughters (1981)
Gail Godwin
5.21
10Mark as read.Loon Lake (1981)
E. L. Doctorow
5.18
11Mark as read.The Company of Women (1981)
Mary Gordon
5.06
12Mark as read.The Hotel New Hampshire (1981)
John Irving
4.92
13Mark as read.A Flag for Sunrise (1981)
Robert Stone
4.88
14Mark as read.Sixty Stories (1981)
Donald Barthelme
4.73
15Mark as read.The Book of Lights (1981)
Chaim Potok
4.21
16Mark as read.The Testament (1981)
Elie Wiesel
3.86
17Mark as read.Little, Big (1981)
John Crowley
2.99
18Mark as read.Ellis Island (1981)
Mark Helprin
2.87
19Mark as read.The Ultimate Good Luck (1981)
Richard Ford
2.81
20Mark as read.The Alleys of Eden (1981)
Robert Olen Butler
2.79
21Mark as read.Original Sins (1981)
Lisa Alther
2.66
22Mark as read.The War of the Roses (1981)
Warren Adler
1.38
23Mark as read.Rhinestone Sharecropping (1981)
Bill Gunn
1.35
24Mark as read.The Noah Conspiracy (1981)
Michael Shaara
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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