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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 1980

# Title Author Year Score
1Mark as read.China MenMaxine Hong Kingston198012.01
Genre: Collection of Short Stories, Other

Google Scholar: 299 (5.64 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 166 (3.27 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 8 (2.58 points)
2Mark as read.HousekeepingMarilynne Robinson198010.20
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 119 (4.19 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 96 (2.73 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
3Mark as read.The Salt EatersToni Cade Bambara19808.73
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 121 (4.21 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 92 (2.69 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 4 (1.83 points)
4Mark as read.The Second ComingWalker Percy19808.33
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 72 (3.53 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 119 (2.93 points) | American Literature: 5 (1.37 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
5Mark as read.Collected Stories of Eudora WeltyEudora Welty19807.81
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 123 (4.23 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 28 (1.75 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
6Mark as read.Riddley WalkerRussell Hoban19807.75
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 110 (4.08 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 63 (2.36 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
7Mark as read.A Confederacy of DuncesJohn Kennedy Toole19806.92
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 120 (4.20 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 27 (1.72 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
8Mark as read.So Long, See You TomorrowWilliam Maxwell19806.22
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 37 (2.78 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 37 (1.94 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
9Mark as read.How German Is ItWalter Abish19805.61
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 43 (2.93 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 34 (1.88 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
10Mark as read.The Transit of VenusShirley Hazzard19805.25
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 44 (2.96 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 30 (1.79 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
11Mark as read.The Clan of the Cave BearJean M. Auel19804.98
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 146 (4.48 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
12Mark as read.Wild SeedOctavia Butler19804.93
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 38 (2.80 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 47 (2.12 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.War and RemembranceHerman Wouk19804.64
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 28 (2.50 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 24 (1.65 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.CongoMichael Crichton19804.38
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 33 (2.66 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 27 (1.72 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.The Year of the FrenchThomas Flanagan19804.27
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 16 (2.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 29 (1.77 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.TimescapeGregory Benford19804.25
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 25 (2.39 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 33 (1.86 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.Plains Song: For Female VoicesWright Morris19804.02
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 13 (1.83 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 11 (1.19 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.The Lords of DisciplinePat Conroy19803.46
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 30 (2.56 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
19Mark as read.Paper FishTina de Rosa19803.22
Genre: Novel

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)
20Mark as read.Fanny, Being the True History of the Adventures of Fanny Hackabout-JonesErica Jong19803.04
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 23 (2.31 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.The Boy Who Followed RipleyPatricia Highsmith19802.72
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 18 (2.09 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
22Mark as read.A Political FableRobert Coover19802.71
Genre: Novella

Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
23Mark as read.Good NewsEdward Abbey19802.52
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)
24Mark as read.The Artificial KidBruce Sterling19802.49
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 16 (2.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
25Mark as read.GodricFrederick Buechner19802.28
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 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.Western StoriesLeslie Marmon Silko19802.15
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 15 (1.36 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
27Mark as read.Autumn StreetLois Lowry19802.14
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 7 (0.97 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
28Mark as read.The ThresherHerbert Krause19802.01
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 7 (0.97 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
29Mark as read.BellefleurJoyce Carol Oates19802.00
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 40 (2.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
30Mark as read.Music for ChameleonsTruman Capote19801.56
Genre: Collection of Short Stories, Other

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 21 (1.56 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
31Mark as read.AmazonsDon DeLillo19801.50
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 19 (1.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
# Score
1Mark as read.China Men (1980)
Maxine Hong Kingston
12.01
Genre: Collection of Short Stories, Other

Google Scholar: 299 (5.64 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 166 (3.27 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 8 (2.58 points)
2Mark as read.Housekeeping (1980)
Marilynne Robinson
10.20
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 119 (4.19 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 96 (2.73 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
3Mark as read.The Salt Eaters (1980)
Toni Cade Bambara
8.73
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 121 (4.21 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 92 (2.69 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 4 (1.83 points)
4Mark as read.The Second Coming (1980)
Walker Percy
8.33
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 72 (3.53 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 119 (2.93 points) | American Literature: 5 (1.37 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
5Mark as read.Collected Stories of Eudora Welty (1980)
Eudora Welty
7.81
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 123 (4.23 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 28 (1.75 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
6Mark as read.Riddley Walker (1980)
Russell Hoban
7.75
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 110 (4.08 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 63 (2.36 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
7Mark as read.A Confederacy of Dunces (1980)
John Kennedy Toole
6.92
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 120 (4.20 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 27 (1.72 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
8Mark as read.So Long, See You Tomorrow (1980)
William Maxwell
6.22
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 37 (2.78 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 37 (1.94 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
9Mark as read.How German Is It (1980)
Walter Abish
5.61
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 43 (2.93 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 34 (1.88 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
10Mark as read.The Transit of Venus (1980)
Shirley Hazzard
5.25
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 44 (2.96 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 30 (1.79 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
11Mark as read.The Clan of the Cave Bear (1980)
Jean M. Auel
4.98
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 146 (4.48 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
12Mark as read.Wild Seed (1980)
Octavia Butler
4.93
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 38 (2.80 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 47 (2.12 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.War and Remembrance (1980)
Herman Wouk
4.64
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 28 (2.50 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 24 (1.65 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.Congo (1980)
Michael Crichton
4.38
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 33 (2.66 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 27 (1.72 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.The Year of the French (1980)
Thomas Flanagan
4.27
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 16 (2.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 29 (1.77 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.Timescape (1980)
Gregory Benford
4.25
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 25 (2.39 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 33 (1.86 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.Plains Song: For Female Voices (1980)
Wright Morris
4.02
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 13 (1.83 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 11 (1.19 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.The Lords of Discipline (1980)
Pat Conroy
3.46
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 30 (2.56 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
19Mark as read.Paper Fish (1980)
Tina de Rosa
3.22
Genre: Novel

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)
20Mark as read.Fanny, Being the True History of the Adventures of Fanny Hackabout-Jones (1980)
Erica Jong
3.04
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 23 (2.31 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.The Boy Who Followed Ripley (1980)
Patricia Highsmith
2.72
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 18 (2.09 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
22Mark as read.A Political Fable (1980)
Robert Coover
2.71
Genre: Novella

Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
23Mark as read.Good News (1980)
Edward Abbey
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)
24Mark as read.The Artificial Kid (1980)
Bruce Sterling
2.49
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 16 (2.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
25Mark as read.Godric (1980)
Frederick Buechner
2.28
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 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.Western Stories (1980)
Leslie Marmon Silko
2.15
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 15 (1.36 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
27Mark as read.Autumn Street (1980)
Lois Lowry
2.14
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 7 (0.97 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
28Mark as read.The Thresher (1980)
Herbert Krause
2.01
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 7 (0.97 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
29Mark as read.Bellefleur (1980)
Joyce Carol Oates
2.00
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 40 (2.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
30Mark as read.Music for Chameleons (1980)
Truman Capote
1.56
Genre: Collection of Short Stories, Other

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 21 (1.56 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
31Mark as read.Amazons (1980)
Don DeLillo
1.50
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 19 (1.50 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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