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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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Althorithm Modifications

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AMERICAN FICTION 1984

# Title Author Year Score
1Mark as read.NeuromancerWilliam Gibson198417.66
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 3134 (11.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 265 (3.80 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 8 (2.58 points)
2Mark as read.The House on Mango StreetSandra Cisneros198414.40
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 1037 (8.21 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 171 (3.30 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 5 (2.05 points)
3Mark as read.Love MedicineLouise Erdrich198412.52
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 289 (5.58 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 234 (3.65 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 6 (2.25 points)
4Mark as read.Slow LearnerThomas Pynchon19848.97
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 147 (4.49 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 72 (2.47 points) | American Literature: 4 (1.22 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
5Mark as read.Always Coming HomeUrsula K. Le Guin19847.85
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 224 (5.15 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 52 (2.20 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
6Mark as read.The Rain GodArturo Islas19847.48
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 83 (3.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 37 (1.94 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
7Mark as read.Bright Lights, Big CityJay McInerney19847.36
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 116 (4.15 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
8Mark as read.AbengMichelle Cliff19846.88
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 119 (4.19 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 92 (2.69 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
9Mark as read.DemocracyJoan Didion19846.18*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus.
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 180 (2.39 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literature: 9 (1.10 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literary History: 6 (1.31 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: -63.45%
10Mark as read.Blood and Guts in High SchoolKathy Acker19845.99
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 118 (4.18 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 31 (1.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
11Mark as read.Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of SandSamuel R. Delany19845.42
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 32 (2.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 40 (2.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
12Mark as read.Machine DreamsJayne Anne Phillips19845.05
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 20 (2.19 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 44 (2.07 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
13Mark as read.Leaving the LandDouglas Unger19844.95
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 10 (1.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 19 (1.50 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
14Mark as read.Clay's ArkOctavia Butler19844.78
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 22 (2.27 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 27 (1.72 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
15Mark as read.Tough Guys Don't DanceNorman Mailer19844.65
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 21 (2.23 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 22 (1.59 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.God KnowsJoseph Heller19844.50
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 33 (2.66 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 32 (1.84 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.Him with His Foot in His MouthSaul Bellow19844.00
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 24 (2.35 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 24 (1.65 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.The Hunt for Red OctoberTom Clancy19843.86
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 56 (3.23 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
19Mark as read.Sudden DeathRita Mae Brown19843.72
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 32 (2.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 9 (1.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.Victory Over JapanEllen Gilchrist19843.57
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 11 (1.19 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.Cold Sassy TreeOlive Ann Burns19843.41
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 17 (2.05 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.Lives of the PoetsE. L. Doctorow19843.29
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 11 (1.70 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 22 (1.59 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
23Mark as read.Foreign AffairsAlison Lurie19843.17
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 25 (1.67 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
24Mark as read.EdistoPadgett Powell19842.63
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 36 (1.92 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
25Mark as read.The Tree of LifeHugh Nissenson19842.35
Genre: Mixed Genre

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
26Mark as read.Budding ProspectsT. Coraghessan Boyle19842.19
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
27Mark as read.The Boys on the RockJohn Fox19841.97
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 8 (1.47 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
28Mark as read.I Wish This War Were OverDiana O'Hehir19841.94
Genre: Mixed Genre

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | 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)
29Mark as read.Golden StatesMichael Cunningham19841.72
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 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.The Big UNeal Stephenson19841.61
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
31Mark as read.Duplicate KeysJane Smiley19841.44
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.The Washington Square EnsembleMadison Smartt Bell19841.40
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 16 (1.40 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
# Score
1Mark as read.Neuromancer (1984)
William Gibson
17.66
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 3134 (11.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 265 (3.80 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 8 (2.58 points)
2Mark as read.The House on Mango Street (1984)
Sandra Cisneros
14.40
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 1037 (8.21 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 171 (3.30 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 5 (2.05 points)
3Mark as read.Love Medicine (1984)
Louise Erdrich
12.52
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 289 (5.58 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 234 (3.65 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 6 (2.25 points)
4Mark as read.Slow Learner (1984)
Thomas Pynchon
8.97
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 147 (4.49 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 72 (2.47 points) | American Literature: 4 (1.22 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
5Mark as read.Always Coming Home (1984)
Ursula K. Le Guin
7.85
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 224 (5.15 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 52 (2.20 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
6Mark as read.The Rain God (1984)
Arturo Islas
7.48
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 83 (3.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 37 (1.94 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
7Mark as read.Bright Lights, Big City (1984)
Jay McInerney
7.36
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 116 (4.15 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
8Mark as read.Abeng (1984)
Michelle Cliff
6.88
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 119 (4.19 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 92 (2.69 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
9Mark as read.Democracy (1984)
Joan Didion
6.18*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus.
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 180 (2.39 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literature: 9 (1.10 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literary History: 6 (1.31 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: -63.45%
10Mark as read.Blood and Guts in High School (1984)
Kathy Acker
5.99
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 118 (4.18 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 31 (1.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
11Mark as read.Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand (1984)
Samuel R. Delany
5.42
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 32 (2.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 40 (2.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
12Mark as read.Machine Dreams (1984)
Jayne Anne Phillips
5.05
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 20 (2.19 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 44 (2.07 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
13Mark as read.Leaving the Land (1984)
Douglas Unger
4.95
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 10 (1.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 19 (1.50 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
14Mark as read.Clay's Ark (1984)
Octavia Butler
4.78
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 22 (2.27 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 27 (1.72 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
15Mark as read.Tough Guys Don't Dance (1984)
Norman Mailer
4.65
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 21 (2.23 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 22 (1.59 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.God Knows (1984)
Joseph Heller
4.50
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 33 (2.66 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 32 (1.84 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.Him with His Foot in His Mouth (1984)
Saul Bellow
4.00
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 24 (2.35 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 24 (1.65 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.The Hunt for Red October (1984)
Tom Clancy
3.86
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 56 (3.23 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
19Mark as read.Sudden Death (1984)
Rita Mae Brown
3.72
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 32 (2.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 9 (1.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.Victory Over Japan (1984)
Ellen Gilchrist
3.57
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 11 (1.19 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.Cold Sassy Tree (1984)
Olive Ann Burns
3.41
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 17 (2.05 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.Lives of the Poets (1984)
E. L. Doctorow
3.29
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 11 (1.70 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 22 (1.59 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
23Mark as read.Foreign Affairs (1984)
Alison Lurie
3.17
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 25 (1.67 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
24Mark as read.Edisto (1984)
Padgett Powell
2.63
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 36 (1.92 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
25Mark as read.The Tree of Life (1984)
Hugh Nissenson
2.35
Genre: Mixed Genre

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
26Mark as read.Budding Prospects (1984)
T. Coraghessan Boyle
2.19
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
27Mark as read.The Boys on the Rock (1984)
John Fox
1.97
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 8 (1.47 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
28Mark as read.I Wish This War Were Over (1984)
Diana O'Hehir
1.94
Genre: Mixed Genre

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | 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)
29Mark as read.Golden States (1984)
Michael Cunningham
1.72
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 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.The Big U (1984)
Neal Stephenson
1.61
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
31Mark as read.Duplicate Keys (1984)
Jane Smiley
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.The Washington Square Ensemble (1984)
Madison Smartt Bell
1.40
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 16 (1.40 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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