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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 1953

# Title Author Year Score
1Mark as read.Go Tell It on the MountainJames Baldwin195313.69
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 310 (5.70 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 281 (3.87 points) | American Literature: 12 (2.06 points) | American Literary History: 5 (2.05 points)
2Mark as read.The OutsiderRichard Wright195312.87
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 104 (4.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 453 (4.49 points) | American Literature: 13 (2.13 points) | American Literary History: 6 (2.25 points)
3Mark as read.The Adventures of Augie MarchSaul Bellow195312.61
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 176 (4.76 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 236 (3.66 points) | American Literature: 7 (1.61 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
4Mark as read.Fahrenheit 451Ray Bradbury195311.82
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 611 (7.02 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 160 (3.23 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
5Mark as read.JunkyWilliam S. Burroughs19537.60
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 189 (4.87 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 52 (2.20 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
6Mark as read.Maud MarthaGwendolyn Brooks19537.55
Genre: Novella

Google Scholar: 48 (3.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 89 (2.66 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
7Mark as read.The Long GoodbyeRaymond Chandler19537.08
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 16 (2.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 75 (2.51 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 5 (2.05 points)
8Mark as read.Nine StoriesJ. D. Salinger19536.75
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 75 (3.58 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 62 (2.34 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
9Mark as read.The NarrowsAnn Petry19536.54
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 13 (1.83 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 60 (2.32 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
10Mark as read.The Bridges at Toko-riJames Michener19535.29
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 40 (2.86 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.More Than HumanTheodore Sturgeon19534.89
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 31 (2.60 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 19 (1.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
12Mark as read.PlexusHenry Miller19534.46
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 11 (1.70 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 54 (2.23 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.Mission of GravityHal Clement19532.28
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 12 (1.24 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.Simple Takes a WifeLangston Hughes19532.17
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 50 (2.17 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.Burning ValleyPhillip Bonosky19531.88
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.The SojournerMarjorie Kinnan Rawlings19531.24
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 12 (1.24 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
# Score
1Mark as read.Go Tell It on the Mountain (1953)
James Baldwin
13.69
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 310 (5.70 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 281 (3.87 points) | American Literature: 12 (2.06 points) | American Literary History: 5 (2.05 points)
2Mark as read.The Outsider (1953)
Richard Wright
12.87
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 104 (4.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 453 (4.49 points) | American Literature: 13 (2.13 points) | American Literary History: 6 (2.25 points)
3Mark as read.The Adventures of Augie March (1953)
Saul Bellow
12.61
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 176 (4.76 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 236 (3.66 points) | American Literature: 7 (1.61 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
4Mark as read.Fahrenheit 451 (1953)
Ray Bradbury
11.82
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 611 (7.02 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 160 (3.23 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
5Mark as read.Junky (1953)
William S. Burroughs
7.60
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 189 (4.87 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 52 (2.20 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
6Mark as read.Maud Martha (1953)
Gwendolyn Brooks
7.55
Genre: Novella

Google Scholar: 48 (3.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 89 (2.66 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
7Mark as read.The Long Goodbye (1953)
Raymond Chandler
7.08
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 16 (2.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 75 (2.51 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 5 (2.05 points)
8Mark as read.Nine Stories (1953)
J. D. Salinger
6.75
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 75 (3.58 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 62 (2.34 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
9Mark as read.The Narrows (1953)
Ann Petry
6.54
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 13 (1.83 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 60 (2.32 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
10Mark as read.The Bridges at Toko-ri (1953)
James Michener
5.29
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 40 (2.86 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.More Than Human (1953)
Theodore Sturgeon
4.89
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 31 (2.60 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 19 (1.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
12Mark as read.Plexus (1953)
Henry Miller
4.46
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 11 (1.70 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 54 (2.23 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.Mission of Gravity (1953)
Hal Clement
2.28
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 12 (1.24 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.Simple Takes a Wife (1953)
Langston Hughes
2.17
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 50 (2.17 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.Burning Valley (1953)
Phillip Bonosky
1.88
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.The Sojourner (1953)
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
1.24
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 12 (1.24 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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