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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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AMERICAN FICTION 1949

# Title Author Year Score
1Mark as read.The Sheltering SkyPaul Bowles19499.22
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 153 (4.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 135 (3.06 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
2Mark as read.SexusHenry Miller19496.82
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 54 (3.19 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 82 (2.58 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
3Mark as read.MarySholem Asch19496.69
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 205 (3.50 points) | American Literature: 4 (1.22 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
4Mark as read.The Man with the Golden ArmNelson Algren19496.54
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 57 (3.25 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 58 (2.29 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
5Mark as read.The Little SisterRaymond Chandler19496.19
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 80 (3.66 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 40 (2.00 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
6Mark as read.ShaneJack Schaefer19495.85
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 37 (2.78 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 55 (2.25 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
7Mark as read.The CannibalJohn Hawkes19495.56
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 105 (2.81 points) | American Literature: 5 (1.37 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
8Mark as read.Yokohama, CaliforniaToshio Mori19494.99
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 24 (2.35 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 31 (1.82 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
9Mark as read.The Way WestA. B. Guthrie19494.87
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 38 (1.96 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
10Mark as read.The Lottery and Other StoriesShirley Jackson19494.20
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 83 (3.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
11Mark as read.The OasisMary McCarthy19493.50
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 22 (1.59 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
12Mark as read.The Track of the CatWalter Van Tilburg Clark19493.45
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 50 (2.17 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.The God-SeekerSinclair Lewis19492.97
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 17 (1.43 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.The Fires of SpringJames Michener19492.44
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 8 (1.47 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 7 (0.97 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.Hunter's HornHarriet Arnow19490.73
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
# Score
1Mark as read.The Sheltering Sky (1949)
Paul Bowles
9.22
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 153 (4.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 135 (3.06 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
2Mark as read.Sexus (1949)
Henry Miller
6.82
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 54 (3.19 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 82 (2.58 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
3Mark as read.Mary (1949)
Sholem Asch
6.69
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 205 (3.50 points) | American Literature: 4 (1.22 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
4Mark as read.The Man with the Golden Arm (1949)
Nelson Algren
6.54
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 57 (3.25 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 58 (2.29 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
5Mark as read.The Little Sister (1949)
Raymond Chandler
6.19
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 80 (3.66 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 40 (2.00 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
6Mark as read.Shane (1949)
Jack Schaefer
5.85
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 37 (2.78 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 55 (2.25 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
7Mark as read.The Cannibal (1949)
John Hawkes
5.56
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 105 (2.81 points) | American Literature: 5 (1.37 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
8Mark as read.Yokohama, California (1949)
Toshio Mori
4.99
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 24 (2.35 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 31 (1.82 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
9Mark as read.The Way West (1949)
A. B. Guthrie
4.87
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 38 (1.96 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
10Mark as read.The Lottery and Other Stories (1949)
Shirley Jackson
4.20
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 83 (3.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
11Mark as read.The Oasis (1949)
Mary McCarthy
3.50
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 22 (1.59 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
12Mark as read.The Track of the Cat (1949)
Walter Van Tilburg Clark
3.45
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 50 (2.17 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.The God-Seeker (1949)
Sinclair Lewis
2.97
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 17 (1.43 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.The Fires of Spring (1949)
James Michener
2.44
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 8 (1.47 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 7 (0.97 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.Hunter's Horn (1949)
Harriet Arnow
0.73
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 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 .

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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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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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