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METACANON 0.7.2
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METACANON 0.7.2

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 .

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Change the weight of these data points in order to change the shape of your canon.










AMERICAN FICTION 1800-2016

# Title Author Year Score
1Add to wishlist.Moby DickHerman Melville185130.54
2Add to wishlist.BelovedToni Morrison198727.15
3Add to wishlist.Invisible ManRalph Ellison195226.15
4Add to wishlist.Uncle Tom's CabinHarriet Beecher Stowe185225.96
5Add to wishlist.The Scarlet LetterNathaniel Hawthorne185025.11
6Add to wishlist.The Great GatsbyF. Scott Fitzgerald192523.31
7Add to wishlist.The Portrait of a LadyHenry James188122.57
8Add to wishlist.Native SonRichard Wright194022.25
9Add to wishlist.Absalom, Absalom!William Faulkner193621.89
10Add to wishlist.Adventures of Huckleberry FinnMark Twain188421.73
11Add to wishlist.The Sound and the FuryWilliam Faulkner192921.57
12Add to wishlist.The Color PurpleAlice Walker198220.89
13Add to wishlist.Billy BuddHerman Melville189120.83
14Add to wishlist.The Grapes of WrathJohn Steinbeck193919.97
15Add to wishlist.Their Eyes Were Watching GodZora Neale Hurston193719.86
16Add to wishlist.The AmbassadorsHenry James190319.76
17Add to wishlist.TypeeHerman Melville184619.68
18Add to wishlist.The Golden BowlHenry James190419.40
19Add to wishlist.Gravity's RainbowThomas Pynchon197319.38
20Add to wishlist.The BostoniansHenry James188619.23
21Add to wishlist.Looking BackwardEdward Bellamy188819.12
22Add to wishlist.The Turn of the ScrewHenry James189819.02
23Add to wishlist.The Red Badge of CourageStephen Crane189518.98
24Add to wishlist.The House of the Seven GablesNathaniel Hawthorne185118.80
25Add to wishlist.A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's CourtMark Twain188918.54
26Add to wishlist.The AwakeningKate Chopin189918.39
27Add to wishlist.Pudd'nhead WilsonMark Twain189418.32
28Add to wishlist.The Bluest EyeToni Morrison197018.24
29Add to wishlist.JazzToni Morrison199218.17
30Add to wishlist.The AmericanHenry James187718.16
31Add to wishlist.Light in AugustWilliam Faulkner193218.12
32Add to wishlist.The Wings of the DoveHenry James190217.97
33Add to wishlist.A Farewell to ArmsErnest Hemingway192917.93
34Add to wishlist.NeuromancerWilliam Gibson198417.66
35Add to wishlist.The House of MirthEdith Wharton190517.60
36Add to wishlist.The Blithedale RomanceNathaniel Hawthorne185217.53
37Add to wishlist.LolitaVladimir Nabokov195517.50
38Add to wishlist.The Adventures of Tom SawyerMark Twain187617.46
39Add to wishlist.Little WomenLouisa May Alcott186917.36
40Add to wishlist.Sister CarrieTheodore Dreiser190017.31
41Add to wishlist.The Sun Also RisesErnest Hemingway192617.22
42Add to wishlist.As I Lay DyingWilliam Faulkner193016.93
43Add to wishlist.RedburnHerman Melville184916.91
44Add to wishlist.Song of SolomonToni Morrison197716.90
45Add to wishlist.ParadiseToni Morrison199716.89
46Add to wishlist.Go Down, MosesWilliam Faulkner194216.87
47Add to wishlist.The Old Man and the SeaErnest Hemingway195216.84
48Add to wishlist.MardiHerman Melville184916.80
49Add to wishlist.The Last of the MohicansJames Fenimore Cooper182616.80
50Add to wishlist.White-JacketHerman Melville185016.79
51Add to wishlist.The Marble FaunNathaniel Hawthorne186016.79
52Add to wishlist.On the RoadJack Kerouac195716.70
53Add to wishlist.All the King's MenRobert Penn Warren194616.70
54Add to wishlist.The Crying of Lot 49Thomas Pynchon196616.60
55Add to wishlist.ConfidenceHenry James187916.53
56Add to wishlist.The Princess CasamassimaHenry James188616.38
57Add to wishlist.Tender is the NightF. Scott Fitzgerald193416.28
58Add to wishlist.Daisy MillerHenry James187816.27
59Add to wishlist.SulaToni Morrison197316.25
60Add to wishlist.Gone with the WindMargaret Mitchell193616.04
61Add to wishlist.White NoiseDon DeLillo198516.02
62Add to wishlist.The Age of InnocenceEdith Wharton192016.01
63Add to wishlist.To Kill a MockingbirdHarper Lee196015.98
64Add to wishlist.The Professor's HouseWilla Cather192515.91
65Add to wishlist.Benito CerenoHerman Melville185515.90
66Add to wishlist.PassingNella Larsen192915.86
67Add to wishlist.The PioneersJames Fenimore Cooper182315.66
68Add to wishlist.The Confidence-ManHerman Melville185715.65
69Add to wishlist.The JungleUpton Sinclair190615.61
70Add to wishlist.ClotelWilliam Wells Brown185315.58
71Add to wishlist.In Our TimeErnest Hemingway192515.56
72Add to wishlist.The OctopusFrank Norris190115.47
73Add to wishlist.My AntoniaWilla Cather191815.46
74Add to wishlist.BabbittSinclair Lewis192215.45
75Add to wishlist.CaneJean Toomer192315.44
76Add to wishlist.Death Comes for the ArchbishopWilla Cather192715.41
77Add to wishlist.Washington SquareHenry James188015.35
78Add to wishlist.Twice-Told TalesNathaniel Hawthorne183715.31
79Add to wishlist.An American TragedyTheodore Dreiser192515.30
80Add to wishlist.What Maisie KnewHenry James189714.97
81Add to wishlist.The Rise of Silas LaphamWilliam Dean Howells188514.96
82Add to wishlist.The Catcher in the RyeJ. D. Salinger195114.86
83Add to wishlist.For Whom the Bell TollsErnest Hemingway194014.80
84Add to wishlist.Roderick HudsonHenry James187514.79
85Add to wishlist.Requiem for a NunWilliam Faulkner195114.79
86Add to wishlist.Slaughterhouse-FiveKurt Vonnegut196914.75
87Add to wishlist.DredHarriet Beecher Stowe185614.69
88Add to wishlist.HerzogSaul Bellow196414.64
89Add to wishlist.Look Homeward, AngelThomas Wolfe192914.46
90Add to wishlist.Winesburg, OhioSherwood Anderson191914.43
91Add to wishlist.McTeagueFrank Norris189914.40
92Add to wishlist.The House on Mango StreetSandra Cisneros198414.40
93Add to wishlist.Main StreetSinclair Lewis192014.31
94Add to wishlist.Catch-22Joseph Heller196114.17
95Add to wishlist.The Prince and the PauperMark Twain188114.13
96Add to wishlist.The VirginianOwen Wister190214.09
97Add to wishlist.A Hazard of New FortunesWilliam Dean Howells188914.07
98Add to wishlist.QuicksandNella Larsen192814.06
99Add to wishlist.Confessions of Nat TurnerWilliam Styron196713.99
100Add to wishlist.OmooHerman Melville184713.96
# Score
1Add to wishlist.Moby Dick (1851)
Herman Melville
30.54
2Add to wishlist.Beloved (1987)
Toni Morrison
27.15
3Add to wishlist.Invisible Man (1952)
Ralph Ellison
26.15
4Add to wishlist.Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852)
Harriet Beecher Stowe
25.96
5Add to wishlist.The Scarlet Letter (1850)
Nathaniel Hawthorne
25.11
6Add to wishlist.The Great Gatsby (1925)
F. Scott Fitzgerald
23.31
7Add to wishlist.The Portrait of a Lady (1881)
Henry James
22.57
8Add to wishlist.Native Son (1940)
Richard Wright
22.25
9Add to wishlist.Absalom, Absalom! (1936)
William Faulkner
21.89
10Add to wishlist.Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884)
Mark Twain
21.73
11Add to wishlist.The Sound and the Fury (1929)
William Faulkner
21.57
12Add to wishlist.The Color Purple (1982)
Alice Walker
20.89
13Add to wishlist.Billy Budd (1891)
Herman Melville
20.83
14Add to wishlist.The Grapes of Wrath (1939)
John Steinbeck
19.97
15Add to wishlist.Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937)
Zora Neale Hurston
19.86
16Add to wishlist.The Ambassadors (1903)
Henry James
19.76
17Add to wishlist.Typee (1846)
Herman Melville
19.68
18Add to wishlist.The Golden Bowl (1904)
Henry James
19.40
19Add to wishlist.Gravity's Rainbow (1973)
Thomas Pynchon
19.38
20Add to wishlist.The Bostonians (1886)
Henry James
19.23
21Add to wishlist.Looking Backward (1888)
Edward Bellamy
19.12
22Add to wishlist.The Turn of the Screw (1898)
Henry James
19.02
23Add to wishlist.The Red Badge of Courage (1895)
Stephen Crane
18.98
24Add to wishlist.The House of the Seven Gables (1851)
Nathaniel Hawthorne
18.80
25Add to wishlist.A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889)
Mark Twain
18.54
26Add to wishlist.The Awakening (1899)
Kate Chopin
18.39
27Add to wishlist.Pudd'nhead Wilson (1894)
Mark Twain
18.32
28Add to wishlist.The Bluest Eye (1970)
Toni Morrison
18.24
29Add to wishlist.Jazz (1992)
Toni Morrison
18.17
30Add to wishlist.The American (1877)
Henry James
18.16
31Add to wishlist.Light in August (1932)
William Faulkner
18.12
32Add to wishlist.The Wings of the Dove (1902)
Henry James
17.97
33Add to wishlist.A Farewell to Arms (1929)
Ernest Hemingway
17.93
34Add to wishlist.Neuromancer (1984)
William Gibson
17.66
35Add to wishlist.The House of Mirth (1905)
Edith Wharton
17.60
36Add to wishlist.The Blithedale Romance (1852)
Nathaniel Hawthorne
17.53
37Add to wishlist.Lolita (1955)
Vladimir Nabokov
17.50
38Add to wishlist.The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876)
Mark Twain
17.46
39Add to wishlist.Little Women (1869)
Louisa May Alcott
17.36
40Add to wishlist.Sister Carrie (1900)
Theodore Dreiser
17.31
41Add to wishlist.The Sun Also Rises (1926)
Ernest Hemingway
17.22
42Add to wishlist.As I Lay Dying (1930)
William Faulkner
16.93
43Add to wishlist.Redburn (1849)
Herman Melville
16.91
44Add to wishlist.Song of Solomon (1977)
Toni Morrison
16.90
45Add to wishlist.Paradise (1997)
Toni Morrison
16.89
46Add to wishlist.Go Down, Moses (1942)
William Faulkner
16.87
47Add to wishlist.The Old Man and the Sea (1952)
Ernest Hemingway
16.84
48Add to wishlist.Mardi (1849)
Herman Melville
16.80
49Add to wishlist.The Last of the Mohicans (1826)
James Fenimore Cooper
16.80
50Add to wishlist.White-Jacket (1850)
Herman Melville
16.79
51Add to wishlist.The Marble Faun (1860)
Nathaniel Hawthorne
16.79
52Add to wishlist.On the Road (1957)
Jack Kerouac
16.70
53Add to wishlist.All the King's Men (1946)
Robert Penn Warren
16.70
54Add to wishlist.The Crying of Lot 49 (1966)
Thomas Pynchon
16.60
55Add to wishlist.Confidence (1879)
Henry James
16.53
56Add to wishlist.The Princess Casamassima (1886)
Henry James
16.38
57Add to wishlist.Tender is the Night (1934)
F. Scott Fitzgerald
16.28
58Add to wishlist.Daisy Miller (1878)
Henry James
16.27
59Add to wishlist.Sula (1973)
Toni Morrison
16.25
60Add to wishlist.Gone with the Wind (1936)
Margaret Mitchell
16.04
61Add to wishlist.White Noise (1985)
Don DeLillo
16.02
62Add to wishlist.The Age of Innocence (1920)
Edith Wharton
16.01
63Add to wishlist.To Kill a Mockingbird (1960)
Harper Lee
15.98
64Add to wishlist.The Professor's House (1925)
Willa Cather
15.91
65Add to wishlist.Benito Cereno (1855)
Herman Melville
15.90
66Add to wishlist.Passing (1929)
Nella Larsen
15.86
67Add to wishlist.The Pioneers (1823)
James Fenimore Cooper
15.66
68Add to wishlist.The Confidence-Man (1857)
Herman Melville
15.65
69Add to wishlist.The Jungle (1906)
Upton Sinclair
15.61
70Add to wishlist.Clotel (1853)
William Wells Brown
15.58
71Add to wishlist.In Our Time (1925)
Ernest Hemingway
15.56
72Add to wishlist.The Octopus (1901)
Frank Norris
15.47
73Add to wishlist.My Antonia (1918)
Willa Cather
15.46
74Add to wishlist.Babbitt (1922)
Sinclair Lewis
15.45
75Add to wishlist.Cane (1923)
Jean Toomer
15.44
76Add to wishlist.Death Comes for the Archbishop (1927)
Willa Cather
15.41
77Add to wishlist.Washington Square (1880)
Henry James
15.35
78Add to wishlist.Twice-Told Tales (1837)
Nathaniel Hawthorne
15.31
79Add to wishlist.An American Tragedy (1925)
Theodore Dreiser
15.30
80Add to wishlist.What Maisie Knew (1897)
Henry James
14.97
81Add to wishlist.The Rise of Silas Lapham (1885)
William Dean Howells
14.96
82Add to wishlist.The Catcher in the Rye (1951)
J. D. Salinger
14.86
83Add to wishlist.For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940)
Ernest Hemingway
14.80
84Add to wishlist.Roderick Hudson (1875)
Henry James
14.79
85Add to wishlist.Requiem for a Nun (1951)
William Faulkner
14.79
86Add to wishlist.Slaughterhouse-Five (1969)
Kurt Vonnegut
14.75
87Add to wishlist.Dred (1856)
Harriet Beecher Stowe
14.69
88Add to wishlist.Herzog (1964)
Saul Bellow
14.64
89Add to wishlist.Look Homeward, Angel (1929)
Thomas Wolfe
14.46
90Add to wishlist.Winesburg, Ohio (1919)
Sherwood Anderson
14.43
91Add to wishlist.McTeague (1899)
Frank Norris
14.40
92Add to wishlist.The House on Mango Street (1984)
Sandra Cisneros
14.40
93Add to wishlist.Main Street (1920)
Sinclair Lewis
14.31
94Add to wishlist.Catch-22 (1961)
Joseph Heller
14.17
95Add to wishlist.The Prince and the Pauper (1881)
Mark Twain
14.13
96Add to wishlist.The Virginian (1902)
Owen Wister
14.09
97Add to wishlist.A Hazard of New Fortunes (1889)
William Dean Howells
14.07
98Add to wishlist.Quicksand (1928)
Nella Larsen
14.06
99Add to wishlist.Confessions of Nat Turner (1967)
William Styron
13.99
100Add to wishlist.Omoo (1847)
Herman Melville
13.96

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Include only works published between and .

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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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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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