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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 1948

# Title Author Year Score
1Mark as read.Intruder in the DustWilliam Faulkner194813.01
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 195 (4.92 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 310 (3.99 points) | American Literature: 15 (2.27 points) | American Literary History: 4 (1.83 points)
2Mark as read.The Naked and the DeadNorman Mailer194811.22
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 214 (5.07 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 231 (3.64 points) | American Literature: 8 (1.72 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
3Mark as read.Other Voices, Other RoomsTruman Capote19489.30
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 86 (3.75 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 114 (2.89 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 4 (1.83 points)
4Mark as read.Seraph on the SuwaneeZora Neale Hurston19487.86
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 44 (2.96 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 85 (2.62 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
5Mark as read.The Living Is EasyDorothy West19486.06
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 50 (3.10 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 50 (2.17 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
6Mark as read.Guard of HonorJames Gould Cozzens19485.96
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 8 (1.47 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 47 (2.12 points) | American Literature: 5 (1.37 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
7Mark as read.Ides of MarchThornton Wilder19485.86
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 41 (2.88 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 70 (2.45 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
8Mark as read.The Young LionsIrwin Shaw19484.55
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 21 (2.23 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 60 (2.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
9Mark as read.The Old Beauty and OthersWilla Cather19483.92
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 11 (1.70 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 26 (1.70 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
10Mark as read.Music from SpainEudora Welty19483.85
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 39 (1.98 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
11Mark as read.The Big WavePearl S. Buck19483.25
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 24 (2.35 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
12Mark as read.The World Is a WeddingDelmore Schwartz19483.19
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 35 (1.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.Remembrance RockCarl Sandburg19483.08
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 35 (1.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.PeonyPearl S. Buck19482.28
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.The Road Through the WallShirley Jackson19482.08
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 8 (1.03 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.Tales of My PeopleSholem Asch19481.88
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 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.Intruder in the Dust (1948)
William Faulkner
13.01
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 195 (4.92 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 310 (3.99 points) | American Literature: 15 (2.27 points) | American Literary History: 4 (1.83 points)
2Mark as read.The Naked and the Dead (1948)
Norman Mailer
11.22
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 214 (5.07 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 231 (3.64 points) | American Literature: 8 (1.72 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
3Mark as read.Other Voices, Other Rooms (1948)
Truman Capote
9.30
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 86 (3.75 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 114 (2.89 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 4 (1.83 points)
4Mark as read.Seraph on the Suwanee (1948)
Zora Neale Hurston
7.86
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 44 (2.96 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 85 (2.62 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
5Mark as read.The Living Is Easy (1948)
Dorothy West
6.06
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 50 (3.10 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 50 (2.17 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
6Mark as read.Guard of Honor (1948)
James Gould Cozzens
5.96
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 8 (1.47 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 47 (2.12 points) | American Literature: 5 (1.37 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
7Mark as read.Ides of March (1948)
Thornton Wilder
5.86
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 41 (2.88 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 70 (2.45 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
8Mark as read.The Young Lions (1948)
Irwin Shaw
4.55
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 21 (2.23 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 60 (2.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
9Mark as read.The Old Beauty and Others (1948)
Willa Cather
3.92
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 11 (1.70 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 26 (1.70 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
10Mark as read.Music from Spain (1948)
Eudora Welty
3.85
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 39 (1.98 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
11Mark as read.The Big Wave (1948)
Pearl S. Buck
3.25
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 24 (2.35 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
12Mark as read.The World Is a Wedding (1948)
Delmore Schwartz
3.19
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 35 (1.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.Remembrance Rock (1948)
Carl Sandburg
3.08
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 35 (1.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.Peony (1948)
Pearl S. Buck
2.28
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.The Road Through the Wall (1948)
Shirley Jackson
2.08
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 8 (1.03 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.Tales of My People (1948)
Sholem Asch
1.88
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 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:

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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