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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 1973

# Title Author Year Score
1Mark as read.Gravity's RainbowThomas Pynchon197319.38
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 990 (8.10 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 521 (4.68 points) | American Literature: 27 (2.87 points) | American Literary History: 9 (2.72 points)
2Mark as read.SulaToni Morrison197316.25
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 441 (6.36 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 548 (4.76 points) | American Literature: 12 (2.06 points) | American Literary History: 8 (2.58 points)
3Mark as read.The Great American NovelPhilip Roth19739.88
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 82 (3.69 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 146 (3.14 points) | American Literature: 4 (1.22 points) | American Literary History: 4 (1.83 points)
4Mark as read.Breakfast of ChampionsKurt Vonnegut19739.50
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 249 (5.32 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 105 (2.81 points) | American Literature: 5 (1.37 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
5Mark as read.Fear of FlyingErica Jong19738.58
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 210 (5.04 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 98 (2.75 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
6Mark as read.Great Jones StreetDon DeLillo19737.26
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 92 (3.84 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 46 (2.11 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
7Mark as read.BurrGore Vidal19736.64
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 30 (2.56 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 56 (2.26 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
8Mark as read.In Love and TroubleAlice Walker19736.64
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 95 (3.88 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 54 (2.23 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
9Mark as read.Child of GodCormac McCarthy19736.53
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 51 (3.12 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 113 (2.88 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
10Mark as read.Rubyfruit JungleRita Mae Brown19736.04
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 149 (4.51 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 20 (1.53 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
11Mark as read.The OathElie Wiesel19735.83
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 37 (2.78 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 56 (2.26 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
12Mark as read.The LynchersJohn Edgar Wideman19735.28
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 13 (1.83 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 48 (2.14 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
13Mark as read.There Is a Tree More Ancient Than EdenLeon Forrest19735.28
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 41 (2.02 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
14Mark as read.The Princess BrideWilliam Goldman19735.19
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 91 (3.83 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 15 (1.36 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.A Wind in the DoorMadeleine L'Engle19734.82
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 66 (3.42 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 16 (1.40 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.Nickel MountainJohn Gardner19734.59
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 40 (2.00 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.A Russian BeautyVladimir Nabokov19734.25
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 33 (2.66 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 22 (1.59 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.Searches and SeizuresStanley Elkin19733.50
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 17 (1.43 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
19Mark as read.Ninety-Two in the ShadeThomas McGuane19733.33
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: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.Beasts of the Southern WildDoris Betts19733.31
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 12 (1.24 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.Dance Hall of the DeadTony Hillerman19733.27
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 20 (2.19 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.Apostles of LightEllen Douglas19732.69
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
23Mark as read.The World of ApplesJohn Cheever19732.57
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 15 (1.36 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
24Mark as read.People Will Always Be KindWilfrid Sheed19732.37
Genre: Mixed Genre

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 9 (1.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
25Mark as read.South of No NorthCharles Bukowski19732.05
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 9 (1.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
26Mark as read.A Crown of Feathers and Other StoriesIsaac Bashevis Singer19731.82
Genre: Mixed Genre

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
27Mark as read.State of GraceJoy Williams19731.69
Genre: Mixed Genre

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 11 (1.19 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
28Mark as read.The Tides of LustSamuel R. Delany19731.47
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 18 (1.47 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
29Mark as read.Theophilus NorthThornton Wilder19731.32
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 14 (1.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
30Mark as read.Port of SaintsWilliam S. Burroughs19731.09
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 9 (1.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
31Mark as read.Black ConceitJohn Leonard19731.00
Genre: Mixed Genre

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
# Score
1Mark as read.Gravity's Rainbow (1973)
Thomas Pynchon
19.38
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 990 (8.10 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 521 (4.68 points) | American Literature: 27 (2.87 points) | American Literary History: 9 (2.72 points)
2Mark as read.Sula (1973)
Toni Morrison
16.25
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 441 (6.36 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 548 (4.76 points) | American Literature: 12 (2.06 points) | American Literary History: 8 (2.58 points)
3Mark as read.The Great American Novel (1973)
Philip Roth
9.88
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 82 (3.69 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 146 (3.14 points) | American Literature: 4 (1.22 points) | American Literary History: 4 (1.83 points)
4Mark as read.Breakfast of Champions (1973)
Kurt Vonnegut
9.50
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 249 (5.32 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 105 (2.81 points) | American Literature: 5 (1.37 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
5Mark as read.Fear of Flying (1973)
Erica Jong
8.58
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 210 (5.04 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 98 (2.75 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
6Mark as read.Great Jones Street (1973)
Don DeLillo
7.26
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 92 (3.84 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 46 (2.11 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
7Mark as read.Burr (1973)
Gore Vidal
6.64
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 30 (2.56 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 56 (2.26 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
8Mark as read.In Love and Trouble (1973)
Alice Walker
6.64
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 95 (3.88 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 54 (2.23 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
9Mark as read.Child of God (1973)
Cormac McCarthy
6.53
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 51 (3.12 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 113 (2.88 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
10Mark as read.Rubyfruit Jungle (1973)
Rita Mae Brown
6.04
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 149 (4.51 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 20 (1.53 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
11Mark as read.The Oath (1973)
Elie Wiesel
5.83
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 37 (2.78 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 56 (2.26 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
12Mark as read.The Lynchers (1973)
John Edgar Wideman
5.28
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 13 (1.83 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 48 (2.14 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
13Mark as read.There Is a Tree More Ancient Than Eden (1973)
Leon Forrest
5.28
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 41 (2.02 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
14Mark as read.The Princess Bride (1973)
William Goldman
5.19
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 91 (3.83 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 15 (1.36 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.A Wind in the Door (1973)
Madeleine L'Engle
4.82
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 66 (3.42 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 16 (1.40 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.Nickel Mountain (1973)
John Gardner
4.59
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 40 (2.00 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.A Russian Beauty (1973)
Vladimir Nabokov
4.25
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 33 (2.66 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 22 (1.59 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.Searches and Seizures (1973)
Stanley Elkin
3.50
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 17 (1.43 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
19Mark as read.Ninety-Two in the Shade (1973)
Thomas McGuane
3.33
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: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.Beasts of the Southern Wild (1973)
Doris Betts
3.31
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 12 (1.24 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.Dance Hall of the Dead (1973)
Tony Hillerman
3.27
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 20 (2.19 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.Apostles of Light (1973)
Ellen Douglas
2.69
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
23Mark as read.The World of Apples (1973)
John Cheever
2.57
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 15 (1.36 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
24Mark as read.People Will Always Be Kind (1973)
Wilfrid Sheed
2.37
Genre: Mixed Genre

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 9 (1.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
25Mark as read.South of No North (1973)
Charles Bukowski
2.05
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 9 (1.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
26Mark as read.A Crown of Feathers and Other Stories (1973)
Isaac Bashevis Singer
1.82
Genre: Mixed Genre

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
27Mark as read.State of Grace (1973)
Joy Williams
1.69
Genre: Mixed Genre

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 11 (1.19 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
28Mark as read.The Tides of Lust (1973)
Samuel R. Delany
1.47
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 18 (1.47 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
29Mark as read.Theophilus North (1973)
Thornton Wilder
1.32
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 14 (1.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
30Mark as read.Port of Saints (1973)
William S. Burroughs
1.09
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 9 (1.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
31Mark as read.Black Conceit (1973)
John Leonard
1.00
Genre: Mixed Genre

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)

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Include only works published between and .

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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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