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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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AMERICAN FICTION 1900-1999

# Title Author Year Score
1Add to wishlist.BelovedToni Morrison198727.69
2Add to wishlist.Invisible ManRalph Ellison195226.15
3Add to wishlist.The Great GatsbyF. Scott Fitzgerald192523.31
4Add to wishlist.Native SonRichard Wright194022.25
5Add to wishlist.Absalom, Absalom!William Faulkner193621.89
6Add to wishlist.The Sound and the FuryWilliam Faulkner192921.57
7Add to wishlist.The Color PurpleAlice Walker198220.89
8Add to wishlist.The Grapes of WrathJohn Steinbeck193919.97
9Add to wishlist.Their Eyes Were Watching GodZora Neale Hurston193719.86
10Add to wishlist.The AmbassadorsHenry James190319.76
11Add to wishlist.The Golden BowlHenry James190419.40
12Add to wishlist.Gravity's RainbowThomas Pynchon197319.38
13Add to wishlist.The Bluest EyeToni Morrison197018.24
14Add to wishlist.JazzToni Morrison199218.17
15Add to wishlist.Light in AugustWilliam Faulkner193218.12
16Add to wishlist.The Wings of the DoveHenry James190217.97
17Add to wishlist.A Farewell to ArmsErnest Hemingway192917.93
18Add to wishlist.NeuromancerWilliam Gibson198417.66
19Add to wishlist.The House of MirthEdith Wharton190517.60
20Add to wishlist.LolitaVladimir Nabokov195517.50
21Add to wishlist.Sister CarrieTheodore Dreiser190017.31
22Add to wishlist.The Sun Also RisesErnest Hemingway192617.22
23Add to wishlist.As I Lay DyingWilliam Faulkner193016.93
24Add to wishlist.Song of SolomonToni Morrison197716.90
25Add to wishlist.ParadiseToni Morrison199716.89
26Add to wishlist.Go Down, MosesWilliam Faulkner194216.87
27Add to wishlist.The Old Man and the SeaErnest Hemingway195216.84
28Add to wishlist.On the RoadJack Kerouac195716.70
29Add to wishlist.All the King's MenRobert Penn Warren194616.70
30Add to wishlist.The Crying of Lot 49Thomas Pynchon196616.60
31Add to wishlist.Tender is the NightF. Scott Fitzgerald193416.28
32Add to wishlist.SulaToni Morrison197316.25
33Add to wishlist.Gone with the WindMargaret Mitchell193616.04
34Add to wishlist.White NoiseDon DeLillo198516.02
35Add to wishlist.The Age of InnocenceEdith Wharton192016.01
36Add to wishlist.To Kill a MockingbirdHarper Lee196015.98
37Add to wishlist.The Professor's HouseWilla Cather192515.91
38Add to wishlist.PassingNella Larsen192915.86
39Add to wishlist.The JungleUpton Sinclair190615.61
40Add to wishlist.In Our TimeErnest Hemingway192515.56
41Add to wishlist.The OctopusFrank Norris190115.47
42Add to wishlist.My AntoniaWilla Cather191815.46
43Add to wishlist.BabbittSinclair Lewis192215.45
44Add to wishlist.CaneJean Toomer192315.44
45Add to wishlist.Death Comes for the ArchbishopWilla Cather192715.41
46Add to wishlist.An American TragedyTheodore Dreiser192515.30
47Add to wishlist.The Catcher in the RyeJ. D. Salinger195114.86
48Add to wishlist.For Whom the Bell TollsErnest Hemingway194014.80
49Add to wishlist.Requiem for a NunWilliam Faulkner195114.79
50Add to wishlist.Slaughterhouse-FiveKurt Vonnegut196914.75
51Add to wishlist.HerzogSaul Bellow196414.64
52Add to wishlist.Look Homeward, AngelThomas Wolfe192914.46
53Add to wishlist.Winesburg, OhioSherwood Anderson191914.43
54Add to wishlist.The House on Mango StreetSandra Cisneros198414.40
55Add to wishlist.Main StreetSinclair Lewis192014.31
56Add to wishlist.Catch-22Joseph Heller196114.17
57Add to wishlist.The VirginianOwen Wister190214.09
58Add to wishlist.QuicksandNella Larsen192814.06
59Add to wishlist.Confessions of Nat TurnerWilliam Styron196713.99
60Add to wishlist.UnderworldDon DeLillo199713.95
61Add to wishlist.Autobiography of an Ex-Colored ManJames Weldon Johnson191213.81
62Add to wishlist.Sophie's ChoiceWilliam Styron197913.77
63Add to wishlist.The HamletWilliam Faulkner194013.69
64Add to wishlist.Go Tell It on the MountainJames Baldwin195313.69
65Add to wishlist.American PastoralPhilip Roth199713.68
66Add to wishlist.The Call of the WildJack London190313.63
67Add to wishlist.MeridianAlice Walker197613.55
68Add to wishlist.Portnoy's ComplaintPhilip Roth196913.53
69Add to wishlist.ArrowsmithSinclair Lewis192513.51
70Add to wishlist.This Side of ParadiseF. Scott Fitzgerald192013.50
71Add to wishlist.A FableWilliam Faulkner195513.48
72Add to wishlist.The Sacred FountHenry James190113.43
73Add to wishlist.The Making of AmericansGertrude Stein192513.42
74Add to wishlist.CeremonyLeslie Marmon Silko197713.35
75Add to wishlist.O Pioneers!Willa Cather191313.29
76Add to wishlist.The Bell JarSylvia Plath196313.25
77Add to wishlist.Miss LonelyheartsNathanael West193313.22
78Add to wishlist.Pale FireVladimir Nabokov196213.19
79Add to wishlist.Intruder in the DustWilliam Faulkner194813.01
80Add to wishlist.The Day of the LocustNathanael West193912.92
81Add to wishlist.The OutsiderRichard Wright195312.87
82Add to wishlist.The Song of the LarkWilla Cather191512.78
83Add to wishlist.Zen and the Art of Motorcycle MaintenanceRobert M. Pirsig197412.70
84Add to wishlist.Tropic of CancerHenry Miller193412.70
85Add to wishlist.The Beast in the JungleHenry James190312.70
86Add to wishlist.Tar BabyToni Morrison198112.69
87Add to wishlist.The Adventures of Augie MarchSaul Bellow195312.61
88Add to wishlist.The MoviegoerWalker Percy196112.56
89Add to wishlist.U.S.A.John Dos Passos193812.53
90Add to wishlist.Love MedicineLouise Erdrich198412.52
91Add to wishlist.Almanac of the DeadLeslie Marmon Silko199112.52
92Add to wishlist.Uncle Tom's ChildrenRichard Wright193812.48
93Add to wishlist.The PitFrank Norris190312.45
94Add to wishlist.House Made of DawnN. Scott Momaday196812.43
95Add to wishlist.Lost in the FunhouseJohn Barth196812.43
96Add to wishlist.Mumbo JumboIshmael Reed197212.28
97Add to wishlist.Another CountryJames Baldwin196212.26
98Add to wishlist.One of OursWilla Cather192212.26
99Add to wishlist.The Custom of the CountryEdith Wharton191312.17
100Add to wishlist.The Last TycoonF. Scott Fitzgerald194112.16
# Score
1Add to wishlist.Beloved (1987)
Toni Morrison
27.69
2Add to wishlist.Invisible Man (1952)
Ralph Ellison
26.15
3Add to wishlist.The Great Gatsby (1925)
F. Scott Fitzgerald
23.31
4Add to wishlist.Native Son (1940)
Richard Wright
22.25
5Add to wishlist.Absalom, Absalom! (1936)
William Faulkner
21.89
6Add to wishlist.The Sound and the Fury (1929)
William Faulkner
21.57
7Add to wishlist.The Color Purple (1982)
Alice Walker
20.89
8Add to wishlist.The Grapes of Wrath (1939)
John Steinbeck
19.97
9Add to wishlist.Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937)
Zora Neale Hurston
19.86
10Add to wishlist.The Ambassadors (1903)
Henry James
19.76
11Add to wishlist.The Golden Bowl (1904)
Henry James
19.40
12Add to wishlist.Gravity's Rainbow (1973)
Thomas Pynchon
19.38
13Add to wishlist.The Bluest Eye (1970)
Toni Morrison
18.24
14Add to wishlist.Jazz (1992)
Toni Morrison
18.17
15Add to wishlist.Light in August (1932)
William Faulkner
18.12
16Add to wishlist.The Wings of the Dove (1902)
Henry James
17.97
17Add to wishlist.A Farewell to Arms (1929)
Ernest Hemingway
17.93
18Add to wishlist.Neuromancer (1984)
William Gibson
17.66
19Add to wishlist.The House of Mirth (1905)
Edith Wharton
17.60
20Add to wishlist.Lolita (1955)
Vladimir Nabokov
17.50
21Add to wishlist.Sister Carrie (1900)
Theodore Dreiser
17.31
22Add to wishlist.The Sun Also Rises (1926)
Ernest Hemingway
17.22
23Add to wishlist.As I Lay Dying (1930)
William Faulkner
16.93
24Add to wishlist.Song of Solomon (1977)
Toni Morrison
16.90
25Add to wishlist.Paradise (1997)
Toni Morrison
16.89
26Add to wishlist.Go Down, Moses (1942)
William Faulkner
16.87
27Add to wishlist.The Old Man and the Sea (1952)
Ernest Hemingway
16.84
28Add to wishlist.On the Road (1957)
Jack Kerouac
16.70
29Add to wishlist.All the King's Men (1946)
Robert Penn Warren
16.70
30Add to wishlist.The Crying of Lot 49 (1966)
Thomas Pynchon
16.60
31Add to wishlist.Tender is the Night (1934)
F. Scott Fitzgerald
16.28
32Add to wishlist.Sula (1973)
Toni Morrison
16.25
33Add to wishlist.Gone with the Wind (1936)
Margaret Mitchell
16.04
34Add to wishlist.White Noise (1985)
Don DeLillo
16.02
35Add to wishlist.The Age of Innocence (1920)
Edith Wharton
16.01
36Add to wishlist.To Kill a Mockingbird (1960)
Harper Lee
15.98
37Add to wishlist.The Professor's House (1925)
Willa Cather
15.91
38Add to wishlist.Passing (1929)
Nella Larsen
15.86
39Add to wishlist.The Jungle (1906)
Upton Sinclair
15.61
40Add to wishlist.In Our Time (1925)
Ernest Hemingway
15.56
41Add to wishlist.The Octopus (1901)
Frank Norris
15.47
42Add to wishlist.My Antonia (1918)
Willa Cather
15.46
43Add to wishlist.Babbitt (1922)
Sinclair Lewis
15.45
44Add to wishlist.Cane (1923)
Jean Toomer
15.44
45Add to wishlist.Death Comes for the Archbishop (1927)
Willa Cather
15.41
46Add to wishlist.An American Tragedy (1925)
Theodore Dreiser
15.30
47Add to wishlist.The Catcher in the Rye (1951)
J. D. Salinger
14.86
48Add to wishlist.For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940)
Ernest Hemingway
14.80
49Add to wishlist.Requiem for a Nun (1951)
William Faulkner
14.79
50Add to wishlist.Slaughterhouse-Five (1969)
Kurt Vonnegut
14.75
51Add to wishlist.Herzog (1964)
Saul Bellow
14.64
52Add to wishlist.Look Homeward, Angel (1929)
Thomas Wolfe
14.46
53Add to wishlist.Winesburg, Ohio (1919)
Sherwood Anderson
14.43
54Add to wishlist.The House on Mango Street (1984)
Sandra Cisneros
14.40
55Add to wishlist.Main Street (1920)
Sinclair Lewis
14.31
56Add to wishlist.Catch-22 (1961)
Joseph Heller
14.17
57Add to wishlist.The Virginian (1902)
Owen Wister
14.09
58Add to wishlist.Quicksand (1928)
Nella Larsen
14.06
59Add to wishlist.Confessions of Nat Turner (1967)
William Styron
13.99
60Add to wishlist.Underworld (1997)
Don DeLillo
13.95
61Add to wishlist.Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man (1912)
James Weldon Johnson
13.81
62Add to wishlist.Sophie's Choice (1979)
William Styron
13.77
63Add to wishlist.The Hamlet (1940)
William Faulkner
13.69
64Add to wishlist.Go Tell It on the Mountain (1953)
James Baldwin
13.69
65Add to wishlist.American Pastoral (1997)
Philip Roth
13.68
66Add to wishlist.The Call of the Wild (1903)
Jack London
13.63
67Add to wishlist.Meridian (1976)
Alice Walker
13.55
68Add to wishlist.Portnoy's Complaint (1969)
Philip Roth
13.53
69Add to wishlist.Arrowsmith (1925)
Sinclair Lewis
13.51
70Add to wishlist.This Side of Paradise (1920)
F. Scott Fitzgerald
13.50
71Add to wishlist.A Fable (1955)
William Faulkner
13.48
72Add to wishlist.The Sacred Fount (1901)
Henry James
13.43
73Add to wishlist.The Making of Americans (1925)
Gertrude Stein
13.42
74Add to wishlist.Ceremony (1977)
Leslie Marmon Silko
13.35
75Add to wishlist.O Pioneers! (1913)
Willa Cather
13.29
76Add to wishlist.The Bell Jar (1963)
Sylvia Plath
13.25
77Add to wishlist.Miss Lonelyhearts (1933)
Nathanael West
13.22
78Add to wishlist.Pale Fire (1962)
Vladimir Nabokov
13.19
79Add to wishlist.Intruder in the Dust (1948)
William Faulkner
13.01
80Add to wishlist.The Day of the Locust (1939)
Nathanael West
12.92
81Add to wishlist.The Outsider (1953)
Richard Wright
12.87
82Add to wishlist.The Song of the Lark (1915)
Willa Cather
12.78
83Add to wishlist.Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (1974)
Robert M. Pirsig
12.70
84Add to wishlist.Tropic of Cancer (1934)
Henry Miller
12.70
85Add to wishlist.The Beast in the Jungle (1903)
Henry James
12.70
86Add to wishlist.Tar Baby (1981)
Toni Morrison
12.69
87Add to wishlist.The Adventures of Augie March (1953)
Saul Bellow
12.61
88Add to wishlist.The Moviegoer (1961)
Walker Percy
12.56
89Add to wishlist.U.S.A. (1938)
John Dos Passos
12.53
90Add to wishlist.Love Medicine (1984)
Louise Erdrich
12.52
91Add to wishlist.Almanac of the Dead (1991)
Leslie Marmon Silko
12.52
92Add to wishlist.Uncle Tom's Children (1938)
Richard Wright
12.48
93Add to wishlist.The Pit (1903)
Frank Norris
12.45
94Add to wishlist.House Made of Dawn (1968)
N. Scott Momaday
12.43
95Add to wishlist.Lost in the Funhouse (1968)
John Barth
12.43
96Add to wishlist.Mumbo Jumbo (1972)
Ishmael Reed
12.28
97Add to wishlist.Another Country (1962)
James Baldwin
12.26
98Add to wishlist.One of Ours (1922)
Willa Cather
12.26
99Add to wishlist.The Custom of the Country (1913)
Edith Wharton
12.17
100Add to wishlist.The Last Tycoon (1941)
F. Scott Fitzgerald
12.16

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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.








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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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