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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 1969

# Title Author Year Score
1Mark as read.Slaughterhouse-FiveKurt Vonnegut196914.75
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 781 (7.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 233 (3.65 points) | American Literature: 9 (1.81 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
2Mark as read.Portnoy's ComplaintPhilip Roth196913.53
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 546 (6.79 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 265 (3.80 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 7 (2.42 points)
3Mark as read.The Way to Rainy MountainN. Scott Momaday196911.04
Genre: Other

Google Scholar: 326 (5.79 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 152 (3.18 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
4Mark as read.The Left Hand of DarknessUrsula K. Le Guin196910.69
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 456 (6.42 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 131 (3.03 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
5Mark as read.The Chosen Place, the Timeless PeoplePaule Marshall19699.66
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 112 (4.10 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 100 (2.77 points) | American Literature: 4 (1.22 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
6Mark as read.The GodfatherMario Puzo19699.60
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 192 (4.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 62 (2.34 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 4 (1.83 points)
7Mark as read.Ada or ArdorVladimir Nabokov19697.77
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 262 (5.41 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 63 (2.36 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
8Mark as read.Yellow Back Radio Broke-DownIshmael Reed19696.97
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 74 (3.56 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 85 (2.62 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
9Mark as read.The Andromeda StrainMichael Crichton19696.65
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 132 (4.34 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 60 (2.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
10Mark as read.themJoyce Carol Oates19696.05*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 Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 14 (1.89 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2488 (2.23 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literature: 47 (0.53 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literary History: 19 (0.40 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: -97.84%
11Mark as read.Collected StoriesJean Stafford19695.11
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 10 (1.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 39 (1.98 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
12Mark as read.The Spook Who Sat By The DoorSam Greenlee19695.00
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 60 (3.31 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
13Mark as read.The PromiseChaim Potok19694.61
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 17 (2.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 80 (2.56 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.Blind Man with a PistolChester Himes19694.58
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 35 (2.72 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 33 (1.86 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.Pictures of FidelmanBernard Malamud19694.36
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 28 (2.50 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.Bullet ParkJohn Cheever19694.35
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 12 (1.77 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 43 (2.05 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.Dune MessiahFrank Herbert19693.56
Genre: Novel

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)
18Mark as read.I Sing the Body ElectricRay Bradbury19693.45
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 18 (2.09 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 15 (1.36 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
19Mark as read.Fat CityLeonard Gardner19693.40
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 8 (1.47 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 17 (1.43 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.Going PlacesLeonard Michaels19692.83
Genre: Mixed Genre

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 34 (1.88 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.This Day's DeathJohn Rechy19692.56
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 8 (1.47 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 9 (1.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
22Mark as read.The Ink TruckWilliam Kennedy19692.29
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 16 (1.40 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
23Mark as read.A Special ProvidenceRichard Yates19692.22
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 14 (1.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
24Mark as read.The Tremor of ForgeryPatricia Highsmith19692.10
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 8 (1.47 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.Slaughterhouse-Five (1969)
Kurt Vonnegut
14.75
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 781 (7.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 233 (3.65 points) | American Literature: 9 (1.81 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
2Mark as read.Portnoy's Complaint (1969)
Philip Roth
13.53
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 546 (6.79 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 265 (3.80 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 7 (2.42 points)
3Mark as read.The Way to Rainy Mountain (1969)
N. Scott Momaday
11.04
Genre: Other

Google Scholar: 326 (5.79 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 152 (3.18 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
4Mark as read.The Left Hand of Darkness (1969)
Ursula K. Le Guin
10.69
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 456 (6.42 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 131 (3.03 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
5Mark as read.The Chosen Place, the Timeless People (1969)
Paule Marshall
9.66
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 112 (4.10 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 100 (2.77 points) | American Literature: 4 (1.22 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
6Mark as read.The Godfather (1969)
Mario Puzo
9.60
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 192 (4.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 62 (2.34 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 4 (1.83 points)
7Mark as read.Ada or Ardor (1969)
Vladimir Nabokov
7.77
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 262 (5.41 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 63 (2.36 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
8Mark as read.Yellow Back Radio Broke-Down (1969)
Ishmael Reed
6.97
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 74 (3.56 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 85 (2.62 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
9Mark as read.The Andromeda Strain (1969)
Michael Crichton
6.65
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 132 (4.34 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 60 (2.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
10Mark as read.them (1969)
Joyce Carol Oates
6.05*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 Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 14 (1.89 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2488 (2.23 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literature: 47 (0.53 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literary History: 19 (0.40 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: -97.84%
11Mark as read.Collected Stories (1969)
Jean Stafford
5.11
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 10 (1.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 39 (1.98 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
12Mark as read.The Spook Who Sat By The Door (1969)
Sam Greenlee
5.00
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 60 (3.31 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
13Mark as read.The Promise (1969)
Chaim Potok
4.61
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 17 (2.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 80 (2.56 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.Blind Man with a Pistol (1969)
Chester Himes
4.58
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 35 (2.72 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 33 (1.86 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.Pictures of Fidelman (1969)
Bernard Malamud
4.36
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 28 (2.50 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.Bullet Park (1969)
John Cheever
4.35
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 12 (1.77 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 43 (2.05 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.Dune Messiah (1969)
Frank Herbert
3.56
Genre: Novel

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)
18Mark as read.I Sing the Body Electric (1969)
Ray Bradbury
3.45
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 18 (2.09 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 15 (1.36 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
19Mark as read.Fat City (1969)
Leonard Gardner
3.40
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 8 (1.47 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 17 (1.43 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.Going Places (1969)
Leonard Michaels
2.83
Genre: Mixed Genre

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 34 (1.88 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.This Day's Death (1969)
John Rechy
2.56
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 8 (1.47 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 9 (1.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
22Mark as read.The Ink Truck (1969)
William Kennedy
2.29
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 16 (1.40 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
23Mark as read.A Special Providence (1969)
Richard Yates
2.22
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 14 (1.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
24Mark as read.The Tremor of Forgery (1969)
Patricia Highsmith
2.10
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 8 (1.47 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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