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METACANON 0.7.2
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METACANON 0.7.2

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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# Title Author Year Score
1Add to wishlist.Sophie's ChoiceWilliam Styron197913.77
2Add to wishlist.LETTERSJohn Barth197910.68
3Add to wishlist.KindredOctavia Butler197910.15
4Add to wishlist.Just Above My HeadJames Baldwin19798.90
5Add to wishlist.The Stories of John CheeverJohn Cheever19797.99
6Add to wishlist.SuttreeCormac McCarthy19797.37
7Add to wishlist.Collected StoriesPaul Bowles19796.94
8Add to wishlist.The Death of Jim LoneyJames Welch19796.35
9Add to wishlist.The Ghost WriterPhillip Roth19795.98
10Add to wishlist.Tales of Nevčr˙onSamuel R. Delany19795.04
11Add to wishlist.UmbertinaHelen Barolini19795.00
12Add to wishlist.Miss MacIntosh, My DarlingMarguerite Young19794.81
13Add to wishlist.Mulligan StewGilbert Sorrentino19794.79
14Add to wishlist.HomebaseShawn Wong19794.58
15Add to wishlist.Dubin's LivesBernard Malamud19794.36
16Add to wishlist.Of This Time, of That Place and Other StoriesLionel Trilling19794.03
17Add to wishlist.Legends of the FallJim Harrison19793.92
18Add to wishlist.Anastasia KrupnikLois Lowry19793.88
19Add to wishlist.Sleepless NightsElizabeth Hardwick19793.86
20Add to wishlist.Da Vinci's BicycleGuy Davenport19793.65
21Add to wishlist.Violet ClayGail Godwin19793.63
22Add to wishlist.TortugaRudolfo Anaya19793.39
23Add to wishlist.Flowers in the AtticV. C. Andrews19793.38
24Add to wishlist.RushesJohn Rechy19793.36
25Add to wishlist.The Chauvinist and Other StoriesToshio Mori19793.00
26Add to wishlist.Vision QuestTerry Davis19792.54
27Add to wishlist.Love, Etc.Bel Kaufman19790.32
28Add to wishlist.Hot SleepOrson Scott Card19790.00
# Score
1Add to wishlist.Sophie's Choice (1979)
William Styron
13.77
2Add to wishlist.LETTERS (1979)
John Barth
10.68
3Add to wishlist.Kindred (1979)
Octavia Butler
10.15
4Add to wishlist.Just Above My Head (1979)
James Baldwin
8.90
5Add to wishlist.The Stories of John Cheever (1979)
John Cheever
7.99
6Add to wishlist.Suttree (1979)
Cormac McCarthy
7.37
7Add to wishlist.Collected Stories (1979)
Paul Bowles
6.94
8Add to wishlist.The Death of Jim Loney (1979)
James Welch
6.35
9Add to wishlist.The Ghost Writer (1979)
Phillip Roth
5.98
10Add to wishlist.Tales of Nevčr˙on (1979)
Samuel R. Delany
5.04
11Add to wishlist.Umbertina (1979)
Helen Barolini
5.00
12Add to wishlist.Miss MacIntosh, My Darling (1979)
Marguerite Young
4.81
13Add to wishlist.Mulligan Stew (1979)
Gilbert Sorrentino
4.79
14Add to wishlist.Homebase (1979)
Shawn Wong
4.58
15Add to wishlist.Dubin's Lives (1979)
Bernard Malamud
4.36
16Add to wishlist.Of This Time, of That Place and Other Stories (1979)
Lionel Trilling
4.03
17Add to wishlist.Legends of the Fall (1979)
Jim Harrison
3.92
18Add to wishlist.Anastasia Krupnik (1979)
Lois Lowry
3.88
19Add to wishlist.Sleepless Nights (1979)
Elizabeth Hardwick
3.86
20Add to wishlist.Da Vinci's Bicycle (1979)
Guy Davenport
3.65
21Add to wishlist.Violet Clay (1979)
Gail Godwin
3.63
22Add to wishlist.Tortuga (1979)
Rudolfo Anaya
3.39
23Add to wishlist.Flowers in the Attic (1979)
V. C. Andrews
3.38
24Add to wishlist.Rushes (1979)
John Rechy
3.36
25Add to wishlist.The Chauvinist and Other Stories (1979)
Toshio Mori
3.00
26Add to wishlist.Vision Quest (1979)
Terry Davis
2.54
27Add to wishlist.Love, Etc. (1979)
Bel Kaufman
0.32
28Add to wishlist.Hot Sleep (1979)
Orson Scott Card
0.00

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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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