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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 1977

# Title Author Year Score
1Mark as read.Song of SolomonToni Morrison197716.90
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 467 (6.47 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 581 (4.84 points) | American Literature: 17 (2.39 points) | American Literary History: 13 (3.20 points)
2Mark as read.CeremonyLeslie Marmon Silko197714.58*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus.
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 806 (7.62 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 360 (3.48 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literature: 6 (1.11 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literary History: 12 (2.37 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: -44.29%
3Mark as read.The Public BurningRobert Coover19778.92
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 108 (4.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 77 (2.53 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
4Mark as read.PlayersDon DeLillo19778.87
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 28 (2.50 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 138 (3.08 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 6 (2.25 points)
5Mark as read.LancelotWalker Percy19778.36
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 51 (3.12 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 177 (3.34 points) | American Literature: 10 (1.90 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
6Mark as read.The Professor of DesirePhilip Roth19778.36
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 64 (3.39 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 113 (2.88 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
7Mark as read.Johnny Panic and the Bible of DreamsSylvia Plath19777.01
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 123 (4.23 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 39 (1.98 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
8Mark as read.IllusionsRichard Bach19776.48
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 238 (5.25 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 12 (1.24 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
9Mark as read.FalconerJohn Cheever19776.01
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 18 (2.09 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 59 (2.30 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
10Mark as read.A Scanner DarklyPhilip K. Dick19776.01
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 74 (3.56 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 70 (2.45 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
11Mark as read.A Place to Come toRobert Penn Warren19775.75
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 23 (2.31 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 66 (2.40 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
12Mark as read.The ShiningStephen King19775.74
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 57 (3.25 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 74 (2.49 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.Elbow RoomJames Alan McPherson19774.78
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 12 (1.77 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 27 (1.72 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
14Mark as read.A Book of Common PrayerJoan Didion19774.66
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 22 (2.27 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 33 (1.86 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.The Women's RoomMarilyn French19774.37
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 38 (1.96 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
16Mark as read.How to Save Your Own LifeErica Jong19774.22
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 32 (2.63 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.Furious SeasonsRaymond Carver19774.20
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 17 (1.43 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.Mind of My MindOctavia Butler19773.79
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 16 (2.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 30 (1.79 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
19Mark as read.Blood TieMary Lee Settle19773.67
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 29 (1.77 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.The Sea Birds Are Still AliveToni Cade Bambara19773.59
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 24 (1.65 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.I, etceteraSusan Sontag19773.30
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 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.A Summer to DieLois Lowry19773.28
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 14 (1.89 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.True ConfessionsJohn Gregory Dunne19772.98
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 11 (1.70 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 13 (1.28 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
24Mark as read.ComaRobin Cook19772.63
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 23 (2.31 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.Edith's DiaryPatricia Highsmith19772.37
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 9 (1.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
26Mark as read.White RatGayl Jones19772.30
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 29 (1.77 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
27Mark as read.GatewayFrederik Pohl19772.17
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 27 (1.72 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
28Mark as read.Union DuesJohn Sayles19771.98
Genre: Mixed Genre

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 8 (1.03 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
29Mark as read.Madder MusicPeter De Vries19771.32
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | 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)
30Mark as read.Sportscar MenopausePage Stegner19770.71
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 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.Song of Solomon (1977)
Toni Morrison
16.90
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 467 (6.47 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 581 (4.84 points) | American Literature: 17 (2.39 points) | American Literary History: 13 (3.20 points)
2Mark as read.Ceremony (1977)
Leslie Marmon Silko
14.58*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus.
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 806 (7.62 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 360 (3.48 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literature: 6 (1.11 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literary History: 12 (2.37 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: -44.29%
3Mark as read.The Public Burning (1977)
Robert Coover
8.92
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 108 (4.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 77 (2.53 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
4Mark as read.Players (1977)
Don DeLillo
8.87
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 28 (2.50 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 138 (3.08 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 6 (2.25 points)
5Mark as read.Lancelot (1977)
Walker Percy
8.36
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 51 (3.12 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 177 (3.34 points) | American Literature: 10 (1.90 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
6Mark as read.The Professor of Desire (1977)
Philip Roth
8.36
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 64 (3.39 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 113 (2.88 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
7Mark as read.Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams (1977)
Sylvia Plath
7.01
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 123 (4.23 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 39 (1.98 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
8Mark as read.Illusions (1977)
Richard Bach
6.48
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 238 (5.25 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 12 (1.24 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
9Mark as read.Falconer (1977)
John Cheever
6.01
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 18 (2.09 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 59 (2.30 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
10Mark as read.A Scanner Darkly (1977)
Philip K. Dick
6.01
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 74 (3.56 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 70 (2.45 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
11Mark as read.A Place to Come to (1977)
Robert Penn Warren
5.75
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 23 (2.31 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 66 (2.40 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
12Mark as read.The Shining (1977)
Stephen King
5.74
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 57 (3.25 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 74 (2.49 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.Elbow Room (1977)
James Alan McPherson
4.78
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 12 (1.77 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 27 (1.72 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
14Mark as read.A Book of Common Prayer (1977)
Joan Didion
4.66
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 22 (2.27 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 33 (1.86 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.The Women's Room (1977)
Marilyn French
4.37
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 38 (1.96 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
16Mark as read.How to Save Your Own Life (1977)
Erica Jong
4.22
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 32 (2.63 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.Furious Seasons (1977)
Raymond Carver
4.20
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 17 (1.43 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.Mind of My Mind (1977)
Octavia Butler
3.79
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 16 (2.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 30 (1.79 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
19Mark as read.Blood Tie (1977)
Mary Lee Settle
3.67
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 29 (1.77 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.The Sea Birds Are Still Alive (1977)
Toni Cade Bambara
3.59
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 24 (1.65 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.I, etcetera (1977)
Susan Sontag
3.30
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 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.A Summer to Die (1977)
Lois Lowry
3.28
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 14 (1.89 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.True Confessions (1977)
John Gregory Dunne
2.98
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 11 (1.70 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 13 (1.28 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
24Mark as read.Coma (1977)
Robin Cook
2.63
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 23 (2.31 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.Edith's Diary (1977)
Patricia Highsmith
2.37
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 9 (1.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
26Mark as read.White Rat (1977)
Gayl Jones
2.30
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 29 (1.77 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
27Mark as read.Gateway (1977)
Frederik Pohl
2.17
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 27 (1.72 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
28Mark as read.Union Dues (1977)
John Sayles
1.98
Genre: Mixed Genre

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 8 (1.03 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
29Mark as read.Madder Music (1977)
Peter De Vries
1.32
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | 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)
30Mark as read.Sportscar Menopause (1977)
Page Stegner
0.71
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 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

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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