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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 1964

# Title Author Year Score
1Mark as read.HerzogSaul Bellow196414.64
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 201 (4.97 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 575 (4.82 points) | American Literature: 21 (2.60 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
2Mark as read.Second SkinJohn Hawkes19647.27
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 16 (2.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 123 (2.96 points) | American Literature: 9 (1.81 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
3Mark as read.A Single ManChristopher Isherwood19647.16
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 50 (3.10 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 74 (2.49 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
4Mark as read.Nova ExpressWilliam S. Burroughs19646.28
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 80 (3.66 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 45 (2.09 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
5Mark as read.Sometimes a Great NotionKen Kesey19646.17
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 69 (3.48 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 50 (2.17 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
6Mark as read.Up the Down StaircaseBel Kaufman19646.07
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 155 (4.57 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 19 (1.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
7Mark as read.Last Exit to BrooklynHubert Selby Jr.19645.92
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 62 (3.35 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 28 (1.75 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
8Mark as read.The Town Beyond the WallElie Wiesel19645.76
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 68 (3.46 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 59 (2.30 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
9Mark as read.The Rector of JustinLouis Auchincloss19645.29
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 29 (2.53 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 17 (1.43 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
10Mark as read.Harriet the SpyLouise Fitzhugh19644.74
Genre: Novel, Other

Google Scholar: 76 (3.60 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
11Mark as read.The Keepers of the HouseShirley Ann Grau19644.56
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 18 (2.09 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 18 (1.47 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
12Mark as read.With Shuddering FallJoyce Carol Oates19644.41
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 39 (1.98 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.A Confederate General from Big SurRichard Brautigan19644.27
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 24 (2.35 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 16 (1.40 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.Catherine CarmierErnest J. Gaines19643.99
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 14 (1.89 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 46 (2.11 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.Short FridayIsaac Bashevis Singer19643.92
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 9 (1.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 33 (1.86 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.Other People's HousesLore Segal19643.74
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 31 (2.60 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.The MartyredRichard E. Kim19643.46
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 12 (1.77 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 11 (1.19 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.The Wapshot ScandalJohn Cheever19642.57
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 33 (1.86 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
19Mark as read.To an Early GraveWallace Markfield19642.48
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 9 (1.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.Jonathan TroyEdward Abbey19641.72
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.The Towers of ToronSamuel R. Delany19641.69
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
22Mark as read.Reuben, ReubenPeter De Vries19641.03
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 8 (1.03 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
23Mark as read.Boys and Girls TogetherWilliam Goldman19640.90
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
24Mark as read.Children and OthersJames Gould Cozzens19640.63
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

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)
# Score
1Mark as read.Herzog (1964)
Saul Bellow
14.64
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 201 (4.97 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 575 (4.82 points) | American Literature: 21 (2.60 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
2Mark as read.Second Skin (1964)
John Hawkes
7.27
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 16 (2.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 123 (2.96 points) | American Literature: 9 (1.81 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
3Mark as read.A Single Man (1964)
Christopher Isherwood
7.16
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 50 (3.10 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 74 (2.49 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
4Mark as read.Nova Express (1964)
William S. Burroughs
6.28
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 80 (3.66 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 45 (2.09 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
5Mark as read.Sometimes a Great Notion (1964)
Ken Kesey
6.17
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 69 (3.48 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 50 (2.17 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
6Mark as read.Up the Down Staircase (1964)
Bel Kaufman
6.07
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 155 (4.57 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 19 (1.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
7Mark as read.Last Exit to Brooklyn (1964)
Hubert Selby Jr.
5.92
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 62 (3.35 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 28 (1.75 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
8Mark as read.The Town Beyond the Wall (1964)
Elie Wiesel
5.76
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 68 (3.46 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 59 (2.30 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
9Mark as read.The Rector of Justin (1964)
Louis Auchincloss
5.29
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 29 (2.53 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 17 (1.43 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
10Mark as read.Harriet the Spy (1964)
Louise Fitzhugh
4.74
Genre: Novel, Other

Google Scholar: 76 (3.60 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
11Mark as read.The Keepers of the House (1964)
Shirley Ann Grau
4.56
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 18 (2.09 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 18 (1.47 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
12Mark as read.With Shuddering Fall (1964)
Joyce Carol Oates
4.41
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 39 (1.98 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.A Confederate General from Big Sur (1964)
Richard Brautigan
4.27
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 24 (2.35 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 16 (1.40 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.Catherine Carmier (1964)
Ernest J. Gaines
3.99
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 14 (1.89 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 46 (2.11 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.Short Friday (1964)
Isaac Bashevis Singer
3.92
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 9 (1.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 33 (1.86 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.Other People's Houses (1964)
Lore Segal
3.74
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 31 (2.60 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.The Martyred (1964)
Richard E. Kim
3.46
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 12 (1.77 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 11 (1.19 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.The Wapshot Scandal (1964)
John Cheever
2.57
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 33 (1.86 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
19Mark as read.To an Early Grave (1964)
Wallace Markfield
2.48
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 9 (1.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.Jonathan Troy (1964)
Edward Abbey
1.72
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.The Towers of Toron (1964)
Samuel R. Delany
1.69
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
22Mark as read.Reuben, Reuben (1964)
Peter De Vries
1.03
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 8 (1.03 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
23Mark as read.Boys and Girls Together (1964)
William Goldman
0.90
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
24Mark as read.Children and Others (1964)
James Gould Cozzens
0.63
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

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)

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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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