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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 1963

# Title Author Year Score
1Mark as read.The Bell JarSylvia Plath196313.25
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 534 (6.74 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 260 (3.78 points) | American Literature: 6 (1.50 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
2Mark as read.VThomas Pynchon196312.03*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus.
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 53 (3.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 998 (4.29 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literature: 42 (2.36 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literary History: 9 (1.71 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: -60.69%
3Mark as read.Cat's CradleKurt Vonnegut196310.25
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 260 (5.40 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 130 (3.02 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
4Mark as read.City of NightJohn Rechy19639.07
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 142 (4.44 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 80 (2.56 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
5Mark as read.The CentaurJohn Updike19638.49
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 37 (2.78 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 141 (3.10 points) | American Literature: 7 (1.61 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
6Mark as read.The GroupMary McCarthy19637.96*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus.
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 83 (3.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 232 (2.66 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literature: 2 (0.44 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literary History: 2 (0.66 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: -61.44%
7Mark as read.Lawd TodayRichard Wright19637.38
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 27 (2.46 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 142 (3.11 points) | American Literature: 9 (1.81 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
8Mark as read.Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An IntroductionJ. D. Salinger19635.70
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 85 (3.74 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 17 (1.43 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
9Mark as read.The BenefactorSusan Sontag19635.19
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 18 (2.09 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 59 (2.30 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
10Mark as read.Visions of GerardJack Kerouac19635.05
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 34 (2.69 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 32 (1.84 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
11Mark as read.Leaving CheyenneLarry McMurtry19634.61
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 17 (2.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 29 (1.77 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
12Mark as read.Idiots FirstBernard Malamud19634.42
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 9 (1.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 64 (2.37 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.The GraduateCharles Webb19633.27
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 16 (2.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 13 (1.28 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.Something in Common and Other StoriesLangston Hughes19633.19
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 8 (1.47 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 11 (1.19 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.UhuruRobert Ruark19633.08
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.Run, RiverJoan Didion19632.97
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 22 (1.59 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.Making DoPaul Goodman19632.64
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 15 (1.36 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.The WillHarvey Swados19632.39
Genre: Mixed Genre

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 15 (1.36 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
19Mark as read.CaravansJames Michener19632.29
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 8 (1.47 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.Joy in the MorningBetty Smith19631.91
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 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.The Living ReedPearl S. Buck19631.60
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 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.Georgie WinthropSloan Wilson19631.36
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
23Mark as read.John Goldfarb, Please Come HomeWilliam Peter Blatty19631.21
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 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.Captives of the FlameSamuel R. Delany19630.73
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 Bell Jar (1963)
Sylvia Plath
13.25
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 534 (6.74 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 260 (3.78 points) | American Literature: 6 (1.50 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
2Mark as read.V (1963)
Thomas Pynchon
12.03*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus.
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 53 (3.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 998 (4.29 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literature: 42 (2.36 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literary History: 9 (1.71 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: -60.69%
3Mark as read.Cat's Cradle (1963)
Kurt Vonnegut
10.25
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 260 (5.40 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 130 (3.02 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
4Mark as read.City of Night (1963)
John Rechy
9.07
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 142 (4.44 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 80 (2.56 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
5Mark as read.The Centaur (1963)
John Updike
8.49
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 37 (2.78 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 141 (3.10 points) | American Literature: 7 (1.61 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
6Mark as read.The Group (1963)
Mary McCarthy
7.96*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus.
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 83 (3.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 232 (2.66 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literature: 2 (0.44 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literary History: 2 (0.66 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: -61.44%
7Mark as read.Lawd Today (1963)
Richard Wright
7.38
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 27 (2.46 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 142 (3.11 points) | American Literature: 9 (1.81 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
8Mark as read.Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction (1963)
J. D. Salinger
5.70
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 85 (3.74 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 17 (1.43 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
9Mark as read.The Benefactor (1963)
Susan Sontag
5.19
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 18 (2.09 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 59 (2.30 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
10Mark as read.Visions of Gerard (1963)
Jack Kerouac
5.05
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 34 (2.69 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 32 (1.84 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
11Mark as read.Leaving Cheyenne (1963)
Larry McMurtry
4.61
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 17 (2.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 29 (1.77 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
12Mark as read.Idiots First (1963)
Bernard Malamud
4.42
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 9 (1.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 64 (2.37 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.The Graduate (1963)
Charles Webb
3.27
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 16 (2.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 13 (1.28 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.Something in Common and Other Stories (1963)
Langston Hughes
3.19
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 8 (1.47 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 11 (1.19 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.Uhuru (1963)
Robert Ruark
3.08
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.Run, River (1963)
Joan Didion
2.97
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 22 (1.59 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.Making Do (1963)
Paul Goodman
2.64
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 15 (1.36 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.The Will (1963)
Harvey Swados
2.39
Genre: Mixed Genre

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 15 (1.36 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
19Mark as read.Caravans (1963)
James Michener
2.29
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 8 (1.47 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.Joy in the Morning (1963)
Betty Smith
1.91
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 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.The Living Reed (1963)
Pearl S. Buck
1.60
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 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.Georgie Winthrop (1963)
Sloan Wilson
1.36
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
23Mark as read.John Goldfarb, Please Come Home (1963)
William Peter Blatty
1.21
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 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.Captives of the Flame (1963)
Samuel R. Delany
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 .

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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