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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 1982

# Title Author Year Score
1Mark as read.The Color PurpleAlice Walker198220.89
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 1733 (9.53 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 482 (4.57 points) | American Literature: 9 (1.81 points) | American Literary History: 11 (2.97 points)
2Mark as read.The NamesDon DeLillo198210.31
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 86 (3.75 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 201 (3.48 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 6 (2.25 points)
3Mark as read.The Women of Brewster PlaceGloria Naylor19829.00
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 227 (5.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 76 (2.52 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
4Mark as read.Dinner at the Homesick RestaurantAnne Tyler19827.63
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 62 (3.35 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 38 (1.96 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
5Mark as read.A Boy's Own StoryEdmund White19827.60
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 74 (3.56 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 37 (1.94 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
6Mark as read.Oxherding TaleCharles Johnson19827.19
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 52 (3.14 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 105 (2.81 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
7Mark as read.The Mists of AvalonMarion Zimmer Bradley19827.10
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 208 (5.03 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 44 (2.07 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
8Mark as read.Burning ChromeWilliam Gibson19826.61
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 142 (4.44 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 50 (2.17 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
9Mark as read.Shiloh and Other StoriesBobbie Ann Mason19825.89
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 54 (3.19 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 52 (2.20 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
10Mark as read.You Can't Keep a Good Woman DownAlice Walker19825.83
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 68 (3.46 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 32 (1.84 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
11Mark as read.God's GraceBernard Malamud19825.78
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 41 (2.88 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 44 (2.07 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
12Mark as read.SabbaticalJohn Barth19825.16
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 39 (2.83 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 61 (2.33 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.The Mosquito CoastPaul Theroux19824.93
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 44 (2.96 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 18 (1.47 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.The Terrible TwosIshmael Reed19824.87
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 18 (2.09 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 39 (1.98 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
15Mark as read.Deadeye DickKurt Vonnegut19824.77
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 36 (2.75 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 19 (1.50 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.The Twofold VibrationRaymond Federman19824.39
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 35 (2.72 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 25 (1.67 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.Oh What a Paradise It SeemsJohn Cheever19824.02
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 16 (2.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 19 (1.50 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.Battlefield EarthL. Ron Hubbard19822.59
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 12 (1.77 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
19Mark as read.Points in TimePaul Bowles19822.47
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 11 (1.19 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.The Valley of HorsesJean M. Auel19822.46
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 19 (2.14 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.Rabbis and WivesChaim Grade19822.38
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
22Mark as read.The Escape ArtistDavid Wagoner19822.09
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 45 (2.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
23Mark as read.Cadillac JackLarry McMurtry19822.01
Genre: Novel

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)
24Mark as read.North and SouthJohn Jakes19821.78
Genre: Mixed Genre

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)
25Mark as read.Silence of the LlanoRudolfo Anaya19821.28
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 13 (1.28 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
# Score
1Mark as read.The Color Purple (1982)
Alice Walker
20.89
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 1733 (9.53 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 482 (4.57 points) | American Literature: 9 (1.81 points) | American Literary History: 11 (2.97 points)
2Mark as read.The Names (1982)
Don DeLillo
10.31
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 86 (3.75 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 201 (3.48 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 6 (2.25 points)
3Mark as read.The Women of Brewster Place (1982)
Gloria Naylor
9.00
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 227 (5.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 76 (2.52 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
4Mark as read.Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant (1982)
Anne Tyler
7.63
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 62 (3.35 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 38 (1.96 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
5Mark as read.A Boy's Own Story (1982)
Edmund White
7.60
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 74 (3.56 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 37 (1.94 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
6Mark as read.Oxherding Tale (1982)
Charles Johnson
7.19
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 52 (3.14 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 105 (2.81 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
7Mark as read.The Mists of Avalon (1982)
Marion Zimmer Bradley
7.10
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 208 (5.03 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 44 (2.07 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
8Mark as read.Burning Chrome (1982)
William Gibson
6.61
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 142 (4.44 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 50 (2.17 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
9Mark as read.Shiloh and Other Stories (1982)
Bobbie Ann Mason
5.89
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 54 (3.19 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 52 (2.20 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
10Mark as read.You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down (1982)
Alice Walker
5.83
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 68 (3.46 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 32 (1.84 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
11Mark as read.God's Grace (1982)
Bernard Malamud
5.78
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 41 (2.88 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 44 (2.07 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
12Mark as read.Sabbatical (1982)
John Barth
5.16
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 39 (2.83 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 61 (2.33 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.The Mosquito Coast (1982)
Paul Theroux
4.93
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 44 (2.96 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 18 (1.47 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.The Terrible Twos (1982)
Ishmael Reed
4.87
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 18 (2.09 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 39 (1.98 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
15Mark as read.Deadeye Dick (1982)
Kurt Vonnegut
4.77
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 36 (2.75 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 19 (1.50 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.The Twofold Vibration (1982)
Raymond Federman
4.39
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 35 (2.72 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 25 (1.67 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.Oh What a Paradise It Seems (1982)
John Cheever
4.02
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 16 (2.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 19 (1.50 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.Battlefield Earth (1982)
L. Ron Hubbard
2.59
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 12 (1.77 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
19Mark as read.Points in Time (1982)
Paul Bowles
2.47
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 11 (1.19 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.The Valley of Horses (1982)
Jean M. Auel
2.46
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 19 (2.14 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.Rabbis and Wives (1982)
Chaim Grade
2.38
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
22Mark as read.The Escape Artist (1982)
David Wagoner
2.09
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 45 (2.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
23Mark as read.Cadillac Jack (1982)
Larry McMurtry
2.01
Genre: Novel

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)
24Mark as read.North and South (1982)
John Jakes
1.78
Genre: Mixed Genre

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)
25Mark as read.Silence of the Llano (1982)
Rudolfo Anaya
1.28
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 13 (1.28 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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