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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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20th Century
1800 - Present
New York Times Archive

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AMERICAN FICTION 1974

# Title Author Year Score
1Mark as read.Zen and the Art of Motorcycle MaintenanceRobert M. Pirsig197412.70
Genre: Other

Google Scholar: 2820 (10.95 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 28 (1.75 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
2Mark as read.Something HappenedJoseph Heller19749.75
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 168 (4.69 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 57 (2.27 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
3Mark as read.YonnondioTillie Olsen19749.72
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 94 (3.87 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 124 (2.97 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 4 (1.83 points)
4Mark as read.The Dispossessed Ursula K. Le Guin19749.32
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 425 (6.29 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 132 (3.03 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
5Mark as read.Winter in the BloodJames Welch19749.30
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 142 (4.44 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 131 (3.03 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
6Mark as read.My Life as a ManPhilip Roth19747.95
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 100 (3.95 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 156 (3.21 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
7Mark as read.Dog SoldiersRobert Stone19747.23
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 30 (2.56 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 32 (1.84 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 4 (1.83 points)
8Mark as read.Look at the Harlequins!Vladimir Nabokov19747.16
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 89 (3.80 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 111 (2.86 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
9Mark as read.Enormous Changes at the Last MinuteGrace Paley19746.54
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 46 (3.01 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 75 (2.51 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
10Mark as read.The Killer AngelsMichael Shaara19746.46
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 141 (4.43 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 8 (1.03 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
11Mark as read.The Last Days of Louisiana RedIshmael Reed19746.19
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 34 (2.69 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 51 (2.19 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
12Mark as read.CentennialJames Michener19746.09
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 49 (3.08 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 73 (2.48 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.The Milagro Beanfield WarJohn Nichols19746.06
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 81 (3.68 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 22 (1.59 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
14Mark as read.The Odd WomanGail Godwin19745.77
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 18 (2.09 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 33 (1.86 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
15Mark as read.Faith and the Good ThingCharles Johnson19745.68
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 68 (2.42 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
16Mark as read.If Beale Street Could TalkJames Baldwin19745.35
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 53 (3.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 51 (2.19 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.The Memory of Old JackWendell Berry19744.65
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 29 (2.53 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 22 (1.59 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.The War Between the TatesAlison Lurie19744.53
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 47 (3.03 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 19 (1.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
19Mark as read.CarrieStephen King19744.53
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 85 (2.62 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.The Hawkline MonsterRichard Brautigan19744.48
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 32 (2.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 14 (1.32 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.JawsPeter Benchley19744.44
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 49 (3.08 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 15 (1.36 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
22Mark as read.The Forever WarJoe Haldeman19743.59
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 23 (2.31 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 13 (1.28 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
23Mark as read.Little Tales of MisogynyPatricia Highsmith19743.22
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 11 (1.70 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
24Mark as read.The 158-Pound MarriageJohn Irving19743.18
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 12 (1.24 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
25Mark as read.Ripley's GamePatricia Highsmith19742.95
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 10 (1.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 14 (1.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
26Mark as read.The Hair of Harold RouxThomas Williams19742.74
Genre: Mixed Genre

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 8 (1.03 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
27Mark as read.KleinzeitRussell Hoban19742.66
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 12 (1.77 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
28Mark as read.The Shadow KnowsDiane Johnson19742.60
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 14 (1.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
29Mark as read.Marathon ManWilliam Goldman19742.52
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 12 (1.24 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
30Mark as read.Daddy CoolDonald Goines19741.61
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
31Mark as read.Cogan's TradeGeorge V. Higgins19741.44
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
32Mark as read.Wait Until the EveningHal Bennett19740.95
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
33Mark as read.The Death of a DetectiveMark Smith19740.50
Genre: Mixed Genre

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 0 (0.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
# Score
1Mark as read.Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (1974)
Robert M. Pirsig
12.70
Genre: Other

Google Scholar: 2820 (10.95 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 28 (1.75 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
2Mark as read.Something Happened (1974)
Joseph Heller
9.75
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 168 (4.69 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 57 (2.27 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
3Mark as read.Yonnondio (1974)
Tillie Olsen
9.72
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 94 (3.87 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 124 (2.97 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 4 (1.83 points)
4Mark as read.The Dispossessed (1974)
Ursula K. Le Guin
9.32
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 425 (6.29 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 132 (3.03 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
5Mark as read.Winter in the Blood (1974)
James Welch
9.30
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 142 (4.44 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 131 (3.03 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
6Mark as read.My Life as a Man (1974)
Philip Roth
7.95
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 100 (3.95 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 156 (3.21 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
7Mark as read.Dog Soldiers (1974)
Robert Stone
7.23
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 30 (2.56 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 32 (1.84 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 4 (1.83 points)
8Mark as read.Look at the Harlequins! (1974)
Vladimir Nabokov
7.16
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 89 (3.80 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 111 (2.86 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
9Mark as read.Enormous Changes at the Last Minute (1974)
Grace Paley
6.54
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 46 (3.01 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 75 (2.51 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
10Mark as read.The Killer Angels (1974)
Michael Shaara
6.46
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 141 (4.43 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 8 (1.03 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
11Mark as read.The Last Days of Louisiana Red (1974)
Ishmael Reed
6.19
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 34 (2.69 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 51 (2.19 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
12Mark as read.Centennial (1974)
James Michener
6.09
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 49 (3.08 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 73 (2.48 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.The Milagro Beanfield War (1974)
John Nichols
6.06
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 81 (3.68 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 22 (1.59 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
14Mark as read.The Odd Woman (1974)
Gail Godwin
5.77
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 18 (2.09 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 33 (1.86 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
15Mark as read.Faith and the Good Thing (1974)
Charles Johnson
5.68
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 68 (2.42 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
16Mark as read.If Beale Street Could Talk (1974)
James Baldwin
5.35
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 53 (3.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 51 (2.19 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.The Memory of Old Jack (1974)
Wendell Berry
4.65
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 29 (2.53 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 22 (1.59 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.The War Between the Tates (1974)
Alison Lurie
4.53
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 47 (3.03 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 19 (1.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
19Mark as read.Carrie (1974)
Stephen King
4.53
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 85 (2.62 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.The Hawkline Monster (1974)
Richard Brautigan
4.48
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 32 (2.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 14 (1.32 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.Jaws (1974)
Peter Benchley
4.44
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 49 (3.08 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 15 (1.36 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
22Mark as read.The Forever War (1974)
Joe Haldeman
3.59
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 23 (2.31 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 13 (1.28 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
23Mark as read.Little Tales of Misogyny (1974)
Patricia Highsmith
3.22
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 11 (1.70 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
24Mark as read.The 158-Pound Marriage (1974)
John Irving
3.18
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 12 (1.24 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
25Mark as read.Ripley's Game (1974)
Patricia Highsmith
2.95
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 10 (1.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 14 (1.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
26Mark as read.The Hair of Harold Roux (1974)
Thomas Williams
2.74
Genre: Mixed Genre

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 8 (1.03 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
27Mark as read.Kleinzeit (1974)
Russell Hoban
2.66
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 12 (1.77 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
28Mark as read.The Shadow Knows (1974)
Diane Johnson
2.60
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 14 (1.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
29Mark as read.Marathon Man (1974)
William Goldman
2.52
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 12 (1.24 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
30Mark as read.Daddy Cool (1974)
Donald Goines
1.61
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
31Mark as read.Cogan's Trade (1974)
George V. Higgins
1.44
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
32Mark as read.Wait Until the Evening (1974)
Hal Bennett
0.95
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
33Mark as read.The Death of a Detective (1974)
Mark Smith
0.50
Genre: Mixed Genre

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