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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

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









AMERICAN FICTION 1925

# Title Author Year Score
1Mark as read.The Great GatsbyF. Scott Fitzgerald192523.31
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 2033 (9.98 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1004 (5.69 points) | American Literature: 69 (4.06 points) | American Literary History: 17 (3.58 points)
2Mark as read.The Professor's HouseWilla Cather192515.91
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 221 (5.13 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 414 (4.37 points) | American Literature: 40 (3.33 points) | American Literary History: 12 (3.09 points)
3Mark as read.In Our TimeErnest Hemingway192515.56
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 201 (4.97 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 613 (4.92 points) | American Literature: 43 (3.42 points) | American Literary History: 6 (2.25 points)
4Mark as read.An American TragedyTheodore Dreiser192515.30
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 238 (5.25 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 403 (4.33 points) | American Literature: 39 (3.30 points) | American Literary History: 7 (2.42 points)
5Mark as read.ArrowsmithSinclair Lewis192513.51
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 170 (4.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 250 (3.73 points) | American Literature: 19 (2.50 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
6Mark as read.The Making of AmericansGertrude Stein192513.42
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 182 (4.82 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 319 (4.03 points) | American Literature: 16 (2.33 points) | American Literary History: 6 (2.25 points)
7Mark as read.Manhattan TransferJohn Dos Passos192511.61
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 263 (5.42 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 221 (3.59 points) | American Literature: 9 (1.81 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
8Mark as read.Bread GiversAnzia Yezierska192511.33
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 186 (4.85 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 168 (3.28 points) | American Literature: 5 (1.37 points) | American Literary History: 4 (1.83 points)
9Mark as read.Barren GroundEllen Glasgow19258.82
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 34 (2.69 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 122 (2.96 points) | American Literature: 17 (2.39 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
10Mark as read.Dark LaughterSherwood Anderson19257.83
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 24 (2.35 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 98 (2.75 points) | American Literature: 6 (1.50 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
11Mark as read.Gentlemen Prefer BlondesAnita Loos19257.76
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 78 (3.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 64 (2.37 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
12Mark as read.The Mother's RecompenseEdith Wharton19256.83
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 25 (2.39 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 96 (2.73 points) | American Literature: 8 (1.72 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.Giants in the EarthO. E. Rølvaag19256.80
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 141 (4.43 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 32 (1.84 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.PorgyDuBose Heyward19256.18
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 54 (2.23 points) | American Literature: 4 (1.22 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
15Mark as read.DrumsJames Boyd19251.70
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 26 (1.70 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.FirecrackersCarl Van Vechten19251.35
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
# Score
1Mark as read.The Great Gatsby (1925)
F. Scott Fitzgerald
23.31
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 2033 (9.98 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1004 (5.69 points) | American Literature: 69 (4.06 points) | American Literary History: 17 (3.58 points)
2Mark as read.The Professor's House (1925)
Willa Cather
15.91
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 221 (5.13 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 414 (4.37 points) | American Literature: 40 (3.33 points) | American Literary History: 12 (3.09 points)
3Mark as read.In Our Time (1925)
Ernest Hemingway
15.56
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 201 (4.97 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 613 (4.92 points) | American Literature: 43 (3.42 points) | American Literary History: 6 (2.25 points)
4Mark as read.An American Tragedy (1925)
Theodore Dreiser
15.30
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 238 (5.25 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 403 (4.33 points) | American Literature: 39 (3.30 points) | American Literary History: 7 (2.42 points)
5Mark as read.Arrowsmith (1925)
Sinclair Lewis
13.51
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 170 (4.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 250 (3.73 points) | American Literature: 19 (2.50 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
6Mark as read.The Making of Americans (1925)
Gertrude Stein
13.42
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 182 (4.82 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 319 (4.03 points) | American Literature: 16 (2.33 points) | American Literary History: 6 (2.25 points)
7Mark as read.Manhattan Transfer (1925)
John Dos Passos
11.61
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 263 (5.42 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 221 (3.59 points) | American Literature: 9 (1.81 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
8Mark as read.Bread Givers (1925)
Anzia Yezierska
11.33
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 186 (4.85 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 168 (3.28 points) | American Literature: 5 (1.37 points) | American Literary History: 4 (1.83 points)
9Mark as read.Barren Ground (1925)
Ellen Glasgow
8.82
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 34 (2.69 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 122 (2.96 points) | American Literature: 17 (2.39 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
10Mark as read.Dark Laughter (1925)
Sherwood Anderson
7.83
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 24 (2.35 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 98 (2.75 points) | American Literature: 6 (1.50 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
11Mark as read.Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1925)
Anita Loos
7.76
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 78 (3.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 64 (2.37 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
12Mark as read.The Mother's Recompense (1925)
Edith Wharton
6.83
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 25 (2.39 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 96 (2.73 points) | American Literature: 8 (1.72 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.Giants in the Earth (1925)
O. E. Rølvaag
6.80
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 141 (4.43 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 32 (1.84 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.Porgy (1925)
DuBose Heyward
6.18
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 54 (2.23 points) | American Literature: 4 (1.22 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
15Mark as read.Drums (1925)
James Boyd
1.70
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 26 (1.70 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.Firecrackers (1925)
Carl Van Vechten
1.35
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)

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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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