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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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Change the weight of these data points in order to change the shape of your canon.









AMERICAN FICTION 1958

# Title Author Year Score
1Mark as read.The Long DreamRichard Wright19589.28
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 35 (2.72 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 152 (3.18 points) | American Literature: 9 (1.81 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
2Mark as read.Dharma BumsJack Kerouac19588.93
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 199 (4.96 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 119 (2.93 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
3Mark as read.The End of the RoadJohn Barth19587.76
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 104 (4.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 119 (2.93 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
4Mark as read.The Magic BarrelBernard Malamud19587.71
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 63 (3.37 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 106 (2.82 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
5Mark as read.ExodusLeon Uris19587.08
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 82 (3.69 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 31 (1.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
6Mark as read.The SubterraneansJack Kerouac19587.05
Genre: Novella

Google Scholar: 79 (3.64 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 63 (2.36 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
7Mark as read.Anatomy of a MurderRobert Traver19586.74
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 174 (4.75 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 7 (0.97 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
8Mark as read.Breakfast at Tiffany'sTruman Capote19586.27
Genre: Novella

Google Scholar: 92 (3.84 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 35 (1.90 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
9Mark as read.From the TerraceJohn O'Hara19583.86
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 9 (1.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 13 (1.28 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
10Mark as read.Tambourines to GloryLangston Hughes19583.70
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 8 (1.47 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 54 (2.23 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
11Mark as read.PlaybackRaymond Chandler19583.52
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 31 (1.82 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
12Mark as read.Home from the HillWilliam Humphrey19583.47
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 8 (1.47 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 19 (1.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.WarlockOakley Hall19582.73
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 8 (1.03 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.The Travels of Jaimie McPheetersRobert Lewis Taylor19582.39
Genre: Mixed Genre

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.The Best of EverythingRona Jaffe19582.12
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 10 (1.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.This WomanPietro di Donato19582.01
Genre: Novel

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)
17Mark as read.The Lost CountryJ. R. Salamanca19581.89
Genre: Mixed Genre

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.The Winthrop WomanAnya Seton19581.78
Genre: Mixed Genre

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 0 (0.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
19Mark as read.Nabokov's DozenVladimir Nabokov19581.62
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 23 (1.62 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.The Planet SaversMarion Zimmer Bradley19581.18
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 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 Long Dream (1958)
Richard Wright
9.28
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 35 (2.72 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 152 (3.18 points) | American Literature: 9 (1.81 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
2Mark as read.Dharma Bums (1958)
Jack Kerouac
8.93
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 199 (4.96 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 119 (2.93 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
3Mark as read.The End of the Road (1958)
John Barth
7.76
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 104 (4.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 119 (2.93 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
4Mark as read.The Magic Barrel (1958)
Bernard Malamud
7.71
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 63 (3.37 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 106 (2.82 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
5Mark as read.Exodus (1958)
Leon Uris
7.08
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 82 (3.69 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 31 (1.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
6Mark as read.The Subterraneans (1958)
Jack Kerouac
7.05
Genre: Novella

Google Scholar: 79 (3.64 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 63 (2.36 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
7Mark as read.Anatomy of a Murder (1958)
Robert Traver
6.74
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 174 (4.75 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 7 (0.97 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
8Mark as read.Breakfast at Tiffany's (1958)
Truman Capote
6.27
Genre: Novella

Google Scholar: 92 (3.84 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 35 (1.90 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
9Mark as read.From the Terrace (1958)
John O'Hara
3.86
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 9 (1.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 13 (1.28 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
10Mark as read.Tambourines to Glory (1958)
Langston Hughes
3.70
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 8 (1.47 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 54 (2.23 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
11Mark as read.Playback (1958)
Raymond Chandler
3.52
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 31 (1.82 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
12Mark as read.Home from the Hill (1958)
William Humphrey
3.47
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 8 (1.47 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 19 (1.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.Warlock (1958)
Oakley Hall
2.73
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 8 (1.03 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters (1958)
Robert Lewis Taylor
2.39
Genre: Mixed Genre

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.The Best of Everything (1958)
Rona Jaffe
2.12
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 10 (1.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.This Woman (1958)
Pietro di Donato
2.01
Genre: Novel

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)
17Mark as read.The Lost Country (1958)
J. R. Salamanca
1.89
Genre: Mixed Genre

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.The Winthrop Woman (1958)
Anya Seton
1.78
Genre: Mixed Genre

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 0 (0.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
19Mark as read.Nabokov's Dozen (1958)
Vladimir Nabokov
1.62
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 23 (1.62 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.The Planet Savers (1958)
Marion Zimmer Bradley
1.18
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 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 .

Althorithm Modifications

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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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