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









AMERICAN FICTION 1947

# Title Author Year Score
1Mark as read.The VictimSaul Bellow194710.74
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 37 (2.78 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 400 (4.32 points) | American Literature: 9 (1.81 points) | American Literary History: 4 (1.83 points)
2Mark as read.The PearlJohn Steinbeck19478.95
Genre: Novella

Google Scholar: 115 (4.14 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 221 (3.59 points) | American Literature: 4 (1.22 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
3Mark as read.Middle of the JourneyLionel Trilling19478.72
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 44 (2.96 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 104 (2.80 points) | American Literature: 8 (1.72 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
4Mark as read.Bend SinisterVladimir Nabokov19478.55
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 111 (4.09 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 190 (3.42 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
5Mark as read.Kingsblood RoyalSinclair Lewis19478.12
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 34 (2.69 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 65 (2.38 points) | American Literature: 9 (1.81 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
6Mark as read.The Wayward BusJohn Steinbeck19477.10
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 19 (2.14 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 104 (2.80 points) | American Literature: 5 (1.37 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
7Mark as read.The StoicTheodore Dreiser19476.09
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 11 (1.70 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 81 (2.57 points) | American Literature: 9 (1.81 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
8Mark as read.Tales of the South PacificJames Michener19475.87
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 69 (3.48 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 16 (1.40 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
9Mark as read.Knock on Any DoorWillard Motley19475.52
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 34 (2.69 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 59 (2.30 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
10Mark as read.Gentleman's AgreementLaura Z. Hobson19475.15
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 53 (3.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 11 (1.19 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
11Mark as read.Country PlaceAnn Petry19474.68
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 10 (1.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 56 (2.26 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
12Mark as read.The Mountain LionJean Stafford19474.66
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 12 (1.77 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 44 (2.07 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.The Harder They FallBudd Schulberg19473.74
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 17 (2.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 26 (1.70 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.The Neon WildernessNelson Algren19473.72
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 12 (1.77 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 17 (1.43 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.The Circus in the AtticRobert Penn Warren19473.64
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 11 (1.70 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 37 (1.94 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.In a Lonely PlaceDorothy B. Hughes19472.91
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 12 (1.77 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.House DividedBen Ames Williams19472.64
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 28 (1.75 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.The ButterflyJames M. Cain19472.22
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 17 (1.43 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
19Mark as read.Tomorrow Will Be BetterBetty Smith19472.18
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.Dark CarnivalRay Bradbury19472.04
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 42 (2.04 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.Nine StoriesVladimir Nabokov19471.96
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 38 (1.96 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
22Mark as read.The Blank WallElisabeth Sanxay Holding19471.39
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
# Score
1Mark as read.The Victim (1947)
Saul Bellow
10.74
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 37 (2.78 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 400 (4.32 points) | American Literature: 9 (1.81 points) | American Literary History: 4 (1.83 points)
2Mark as read.The Pearl (1947)
John Steinbeck
8.95
Genre: Novella

Google Scholar: 115 (4.14 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 221 (3.59 points) | American Literature: 4 (1.22 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
3Mark as read.Middle of the Journey (1947)
Lionel Trilling
8.72
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 44 (2.96 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 104 (2.80 points) | American Literature: 8 (1.72 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
4Mark as read.Bend Sinister (1947)
Vladimir Nabokov
8.55
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 111 (4.09 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 190 (3.42 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
5Mark as read.Kingsblood Royal (1947)
Sinclair Lewis
8.12
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 34 (2.69 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 65 (2.38 points) | American Literature: 9 (1.81 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
6Mark as read.The Wayward Bus (1947)
John Steinbeck
7.10
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 19 (2.14 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 104 (2.80 points) | American Literature: 5 (1.37 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
7Mark as read.The Stoic (1947)
Theodore Dreiser
6.09
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 11 (1.70 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 81 (2.57 points) | American Literature: 9 (1.81 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
8Mark as read.Tales of the South Pacific (1947)
James Michener
5.87
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 69 (3.48 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 16 (1.40 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
9Mark as read.Knock on Any Door (1947)
Willard Motley
5.52
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 34 (2.69 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 59 (2.30 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
10Mark as read.Gentleman's Agreement (1947)
Laura Z. Hobson
5.15
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 53 (3.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 11 (1.19 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
11Mark as read.Country Place (1947)
Ann Petry
4.68
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 10 (1.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 56 (2.26 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
12Mark as read.The Mountain Lion (1947)
Jean Stafford
4.66
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 12 (1.77 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 44 (2.07 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.The Harder They Fall (1947)
Budd Schulberg
3.74
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 17 (2.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 26 (1.70 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.The Neon Wilderness (1947)
Nelson Algren
3.72
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 12 (1.77 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 17 (1.43 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.The Circus in the Attic (1947)
Robert Penn Warren
3.64
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 11 (1.70 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 37 (1.94 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.In a Lonely Place (1947)
Dorothy B. Hughes
2.91
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 12 (1.77 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.House Divided (1947)
Ben Ames Williams
2.64
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 28 (1.75 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.The Butterfly (1947)
James M. Cain
2.22
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 17 (1.43 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
19Mark as read.Tomorrow Will Be Better (1947)
Betty Smith
2.18
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.Dark Carnival (1947)
Ray Bradbury
2.04
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 42 (2.04 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.Nine Stories (1947)
Vladimir Nabokov
1.96
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 38 (1.96 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
22Mark as read.The Blank Wall (1947)
Elisabeth Sanxay Holding
1.39
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)

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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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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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