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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 1952

# Title Author Year Score
1Mark as read.Invisible ManRalph Ellison195226.15
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 2185 (10.19 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1183 (5.98 points) | American Literature: 45 (3.48 points) | American Literary History: 52 (5.50 points)
2Mark as read.The Old Man and the SeaErnest Hemingway195216.84
Genre: Novella

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 554 (6.82 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 350 (4.15 points) | American Literature: 34 (3.14 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
3Mark as read.Wise BloodFlannery O'Connor195211.54
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 90 (3.81 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 340 (4.11 points) | American Literature: 26 (2.83 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
4Mark as read.Charlotte's WebE. B. White195210.86
Genre: Novel, Other

Google Scholar: 619 (7.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 130 (3.02 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
5Mark as read.East of EdenJohn Steinbeck195210.71
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 175 (4.75 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 252 (3.74 points) | American Literature: 8 (1.72 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
6Mark as read.The NaturalBernard Malamud195210.59
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 86 (3.75 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 260 (3.78 points) | American Literature: 6 (1.50 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
7Mark as read.Player PianoKurt Vonnegut19529.09
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 206 (5.01 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 71 (2.46 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
8Mark as read.UshantConrad Aiken19526.85
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 13 (1.83 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 97 (2.74 points) | American Literature: 6 (1.50 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
9Mark as read.Laughing to Keep from CryingLangston Hughes19525.55
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 11 (1.70 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 77 (2.53 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
10Mark as read.The Demolished ManAlfred Bester19525.32
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 41 (2.88 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 24 (1.65 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
11Mark as read.Let It Come DownPaul Bowles19524.91
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 21 (2.23 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 49 (2.15 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
12Mark as read.The Killer Inside MeJim Thompson19524.82
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 31 (2.60 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 17 (1.43 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
13Mark as read.The Build-UpWilliam Carlos Williams19524.30
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 86 (2.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.The Price of SaltPatricia Highsmith19524.29
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 19 (2.14 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 15 (1.36 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
15Mark as read.District of ColumbiaJohn Dos Passos19523.99
Genre: Other

Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 35 (1.90 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.The Catherine WheelJean Stafford19523.69
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 18 (1.47 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.ShilohShelby Foote19523.45
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 8 (1.47 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 39 (1.98 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.CityClifford D. Simak19522.93*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus.
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 20 (2.19 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 41 (0.75 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: -89.84%
19Mark as read.Winds of MorningH. L. Davis19522.14
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 11 (1.19 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.A Shower of Summer DaysMay Sarton19522.13
Genre: Mixed Genre

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.Jefferson SelleckCarl Jonas19521.70
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
22Mark as read.Many MansionsIsabel Bolton19521.13
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
23Mark as read.The LandsmanPeter Martin19520.82
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
24Mark as read.The Gathering DarknessThomas Gallagher19520.50
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 0 (0.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
# Score
1Mark as read.Invisible Man (1952)
Ralph Ellison
26.15
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 2185 (10.19 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1183 (5.98 points) | American Literature: 45 (3.48 points) | American Literary History: 52 (5.50 points)
2Mark as read.The Old Man and the Sea (1952)
Ernest Hemingway
16.84
Genre: Novella

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 554 (6.82 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 350 (4.15 points) | American Literature: 34 (3.14 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
3Mark as read.Wise Blood (1952)
Flannery O'Connor
11.54
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 90 (3.81 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 340 (4.11 points) | American Literature: 26 (2.83 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
4Mark as read.Charlotte's Web (1952)
E. B. White
10.86
Genre: Novel, Other

Google Scholar: 619 (7.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 130 (3.02 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
5Mark as read.East of Eden (1952)
John Steinbeck
10.71
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 175 (4.75 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 252 (3.74 points) | American Literature: 8 (1.72 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
6Mark as read.The Natural (1952)
Bernard Malamud
10.59
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 86 (3.75 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 260 (3.78 points) | American Literature: 6 (1.50 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
7Mark as read.Player Piano (1952)
Kurt Vonnegut
9.09
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 206 (5.01 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 71 (2.46 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
8Mark as read.Ushant (1952)
Conrad Aiken
6.85
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 13 (1.83 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 97 (2.74 points) | American Literature: 6 (1.50 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
9Mark as read.Laughing to Keep from Crying (1952)
Langston Hughes
5.55
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 11 (1.70 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 77 (2.53 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
10Mark as read.The Demolished Man (1952)
Alfred Bester
5.32
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 41 (2.88 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 24 (1.65 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
11Mark as read.Let It Come Down (1952)
Paul Bowles
4.91
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 21 (2.23 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 49 (2.15 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
12Mark as read.The Killer Inside Me (1952)
Jim Thompson
4.82
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 31 (2.60 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 17 (1.43 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
13Mark as read.The Build-Up (1952)
William Carlos Williams
4.30
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 86 (2.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.The Price of Salt (1952)
Patricia Highsmith
4.29
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 19 (2.14 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 15 (1.36 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
15Mark as read.District of Columbia (1952)
John Dos Passos
3.99
Genre: Other

Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 35 (1.90 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.The Catherine Wheel (1952)
Jean Stafford
3.69
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 18 (1.47 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.Shiloh (1952)
Shelby Foote
3.45
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 8 (1.47 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 39 (1.98 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.City (1952)
Clifford D. Simak
2.93*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus.
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 20 (2.19 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 41 (0.75 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: -89.84%
19Mark as read.Winds of Morning (1952)
H. L. Davis
2.14
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 11 (1.19 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.A Shower of Summer Days (1952)
May Sarton
2.13
Genre: Mixed Genre

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.Jefferson Selleck (1952)
Carl Jonas
1.70
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
22Mark as read.Many Mansions (1952)
Isabel Bolton
1.13
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
23Mark as read.The Landsman (1952)
Peter Martin
0.82
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
24Mark as read.The Gathering Darkness (1952)
Thomas Gallagher
0.50
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 0 (0.00 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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