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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 1951

# Title Author Year Score
1Mark as read.The Catcher in the RyeJ. D. Salinger195114.86
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 1234 (8.64 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 196 (3.45 points) | American Literature: 15 (2.27 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
2Mark as read.Requiem for a NunWilliam Faulkner195114.79
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 365 (6.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 308 (3.98 points) | American Literature: 32 (3.07 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
3Mark as read.From Here to EternityJames Jones195110.09
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 100 (3.95 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 97 (2.74 points) | American Literature: 7 (1.61 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
4Mark as read.FoundationIsaac Asimov19519.90*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus.
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 291 (5.59 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 802 (4.31 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus.

N-gram Frequency Correction: -50.45%
5Mark as read.Lie Down in DarknessWilliam Styron19519.21
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 46 (3.01 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 140 (3.09 points) | American Literature: 9 (1.81 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
6Mark as read.The Caine MutinyHerman Wouk19519.19
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 129 (4.30 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 111 (2.86 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
7Mark as read.The Ugly AmericanWilliam Lederer19517.46
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 301 (5.65 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 13 (1.28 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
8Mark as read.The Ballad of the Sad CafeCarson McCullers19517.07
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 80 (3.66 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 113 (2.88 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
9Mark as read.Barbary ShoreNorman Mailer19516.83
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 19 (2.14 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 77 (2.53 points) | American Literature: 5 (1.37 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
10Mark as read.The Groves of AcademeMary McCarthy19516.21
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 62 (3.35 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 44 (2.07 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
11Mark as read.The Illustrated ManRay Bradbury19515.55
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 48 (3.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 74 (2.49 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
12Mark as read.The Morning WatchJames Agee19515.17
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 11 (1.70 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 36 (1.92 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.Amos Fortune, Free ManElizabeth Yates19514.97
Genre: Novel, Other

Google Scholar: 45 (2.98 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 39 (1.98 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.The Holy SinnerThomas Mann19514.78
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 10 (1.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 88 (2.65 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.The Grass HarpTruman Capote19514.44
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 19 (2.14 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 30 (1.79 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.Return to ParadiseJames Michener19514.14
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 40 (2.86 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 13 (1.28 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.The Puppet MastersRobert Heinlein19513.97
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 34 (2.69 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 13 (1.28 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.World So WideSinclair Lewis19513.11
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 15 (1.36 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
19Mark as read.The Strange ChildrenCaroline Gordon19513.04
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 21 (1.56 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.HangsamanShirley Jackson19512.78
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 19 (1.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.One Lonely NightMickey Spillane19512.55
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 21 (2.23 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
22Mark as read.Melville Goodwin USAJohn P. Marquand19512.51
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 7 (0.97 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
23Mark as read.The Witch DiggersJessamyn West19512.30
Genre: Mixed Genre

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 9 (1.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
# Score
1Mark as read.The Catcher in the Rye (1951)
J. D. Salinger
14.86
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 1234 (8.64 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 196 (3.45 points) | American Literature: 15 (2.27 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
2Mark as read.Requiem for a Nun (1951)
William Faulkner
14.79
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 365 (6.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 308 (3.98 points) | American Literature: 32 (3.07 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
3Mark as read.From Here to Eternity (1951)
James Jones
10.09
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 100 (3.95 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 97 (2.74 points) | American Literature: 7 (1.61 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
4Mark as read.Foundation (1951)
Isaac Asimov
9.90*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus.
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 291 (5.59 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 802 (4.31 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus.

N-gram Frequency Correction: -50.45%
5Mark as read.Lie Down in Darkness (1951)
William Styron
9.21
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 46 (3.01 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 140 (3.09 points) | American Literature: 9 (1.81 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
6Mark as read.The Caine Mutiny (1951)
Herman Wouk
9.19
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 129 (4.30 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 111 (2.86 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
7Mark as read.The Ugly American (1951)
William Lederer
7.46
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 301 (5.65 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 13 (1.28 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
8Mark as read.The Ballad of the Sad Cafe (1951)
Carson McCullers
7.07
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 80 (3.66 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 113 (2.88 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
9Mark as read.Barbary Shore (1951)
Norman Mailer
6.83
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 19 (2.14 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 77 (2.53 points) | American Literature: 5 (1.37 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
10Mark as read.The Groves of Academe (1951)
Mary McCarthy
6.21
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 62 (3.35 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 44 (2.07 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
11Mark as read.The Illustrated Man (1951)
Ray Bradbury
5.55
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 48 (3.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 74 (2.49 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
12Mark as read.The Morning Watch (1951)
James Agee
5.17
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 11 (1.70 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 36 (1.92 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.Amos Fortune, Free Man (1951)
Elizabeth Yates
4.97
Genre: Novel, Other

Google Scholar: 45 (2.98 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 39 (1.98 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.The Holy Sinner (1951)
Thomas Mann
4.78
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 10 (1.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 88 (2.65 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.The Grass Harp (1951)
Truman Capote
4.44
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 19 (2.14 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 30 (1.79 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.Return to Paradise (1951)
James Michener
4.14
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 40 (2.86 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 13 (1.28 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.The Puppet Masters (1951)
Robert Heinlein
3.97
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 34 (2.69 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 13 (1.28 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.World So Wide (1951)
Sinclair Lewis
3.11
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 15 (1.36 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
19Mark as read.The Strange Children (1951)
Caroline Gordon
3.04
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 21 (1.56 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.Hangsaman (1951)
Shirley Jackson
2.78
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 19 (1.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.One Lonely Night (1951)
Mickey Spillane
2.55
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 21 (2.23 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
22Mark as read.Melville Goodwin USA (1951)
John P. Marquand
2.51
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 7 (0.97 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
23Mark as read.The Witch Diggers (1951)
Jessamyn West
2.30
Genre: Mixed Genre

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 9 (1.09 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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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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