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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
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1800 - Present
New York Times Archive

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AMERICAN FICTION 1985

# Title Author Year Score
1Mark as read.White NoiseDon DeLillo198516.02
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 591 (6.95 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 210 (3.53 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 16 (3.49 points)
2Mark as read.Blood MeridianCormac McCarthy198511.90
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 329 (5.81 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 244 (3.70 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
3Mark as read.Annie JohnJamaica Kincaid19859.59
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 234 (5.22 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 134 (3.05 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
4Mark as read.In CountryBobbie Ann Mason19859.38
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 118 (4.18 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 86 (2.63 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 5 (2.05 points)
5Mark as read.Lonesome DoveLarry McMurtry19858.21
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 74 (3.56 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 61 (2.33 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
6Mark as read.The Accidental TouristAnne Tyler19857.54
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 113 (4.12 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 34 (1.88 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
7Mark as read.Continental DriftRussell Banks19857.49
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 59 (3.29 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 48 (2.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
8Mark as read.Less than ZeroBret Easton Ellis19857.15
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 95 (3.88 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 26 (1.70 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
9Mark as read.DarknessBharati Mukherjee19857.15*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus.
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 56 (3.23 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 148 (2.55 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literature: 2 (0.55 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literary History: 2 (0.82 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: -46.95%
10Mark as read.The Vampire LestatAnne Rice19857.02
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 103 (3.99 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 30 (1.79 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
11Mark as read.Ender's GameOrson Scott Card19856.98
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 172 (4.73 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 18 (1.47 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
12Mark as read.Carpenter's GothicWilliam Gaddis19856.82
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 39 (2.83 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 49 (2.15 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
13Mark as read.Linden HillsGloria Naylor19856.74
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 63 (3.37 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 82 (2.58 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
14Mark as read.GalapagosKurt Vonnegut19856.68
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 82 (3.69 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 37 (1.94 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.The Prague OrgyPhilip Roth19856.36
Genre: Novella

Google Scholar: 28 (2.50 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 86 (2.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
16Mark as read.The Cider House RulesJohn Irving19856.28
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 82 (3.69 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 30 (1.79 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
17Mark as read.QueerWilliam S. Burroughs19855.52
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 38 (2.80 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 95 (2.72 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.SchismatrixBruce Sterling19855.49
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 40 (2.86 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 32 (1.84 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
19Mark as read.Betsey BrownNtozake Shange19855.08
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 29 (2.53 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 27 (1.72 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.The Beans of Egypt, MaineCarolyn Chute19854.20
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 41 (2.88 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 14 (1.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.Other WomenLisa Alther19853.82
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 34 (1.88 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
22Mark as read.DogsongGary Paulsen19853.73
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 19 (2.14 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.ContactCarl Sagan19853.72*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus.
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 663 (3.72 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 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: -62.70%
24Mark as read.The Fifth SonElie Wiesel19853.59
Genre: Novel

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)
25Mark as read.Davita's HarpChaim Potok19853.36
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 12 (1.77 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 22 (1.59 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
26Mark as read.The ClassErich Segal19852.82
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 24 (1.65 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
27Mark as read.Walk Me to the DistancePercival Everett19852.81
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 20 (1.53 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
28Mark as read.Days Between StationsSteve Erickson19852.50
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 8 (1.47 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.The Mammoth HuntersJean M. Auel19852.49
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)
30Mark as read.ProvidenceGeoffrey Wolff19852.33
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 23 (1.62 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
31Mark as read.Waiting for the End of the WorldMadison Smartt Bell19852.09
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 11 (1.19 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
32Mark as read.The Cat Who Walks Through WallsRobert Heinlein19851.94
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 0 (0.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
33Mark as read.Death Is a Lonely BusinessRay Bradbury19851.80
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 9 (1.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
34Mark as read.Song of KaliDan Simmons19851.67
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
# Score
1Mark as read.White Noise (1985)
Don DeLillo
16.02
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 591 (6.95 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 210 (3.53 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 16 (3.49 points)
2Mark as read.Blood Meridian (1985)
Cormac McCarthy
11.90
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 329 (5.81 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 244 (3.70 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
3Mark as read.Annie John (1985)
Jamaica Kincaid
9.59
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 234 (5.22 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 134 (3.05 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
4Mark as read.In Country (1985)
Bobbie Ann Mason
9.38
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 118 (4.18 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 86 (2.63 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 5 (2.05 points)
5Mark as read.Lonesome Dove (1985)
Larry McMurtry
8.21
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 74 (3.56 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 61 (2.33 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
6Mark as read.The Accidental Tourist (1985)
Anne Tyler
7.54
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 113 (4.12 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 34 (1.88 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
7Mark as read.Continental Drift (1985)
Russell Banks
7.49
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 59 (3.29 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 48 (2.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
8Mark as read.Less than Zero (1985)
Bret Easton Ellis
7.15
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 95 (3.88 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 26 (1.70 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
9Mark as read.Darkness (1985)
Bharati Mukherjee
7.15*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus.
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 56 (3.23 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 148 (2.55 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literature: 2 (0.55 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literary History: 2 (0.82 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: -46.95%
10Mark as read.The Vampire Lestat (1985)
Anne Rice
7.02
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 103 (3.99 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 30 (1.79 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
11Mark as read.Ender's Game (1985)
Orson Scott Card
6.98
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 172 (4.73 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 18 (1.47 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
12Mark as read.Carpenter's Gothic (1985)
William Gaddis
6.82
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 39 (2.83 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 49 (2.15 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
13Mark as read.Linden Hills (1985)
Gloria Naylor
6.74
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 63 (3.37 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 82 (2.58 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
14Mark as read.Galapagos (1985)
Kurt Vonnegut
6.68
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 82 (3.69 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 37 (1.94 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.The Prague Orgy (1985)
Philip Roth
6.36
Genre: Novella

Google Scholar: 28 (2.50 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 86 (2.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
16Mark as read.The Cider House Rules (1985)
John Irving
6.28
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 82 (3.69 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 30 (1.79 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
17Mark as read.Queer (1985)
William S. Burroughs
5.52
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 38 (2.80 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 95 (2.72 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.Schismatrix (1985)
Bruce Sterling
5.49
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 40 (2.86 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 32 (1.84 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
19Mark as read.Betsey Brown (1985)
Ntozake Shange
5.08
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 29 (2.53 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 27 (1.72 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.The Beans of Egypt, Maine (1985)
Carolyn Chute
4.20
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 41 (2.88 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 14 (1.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.Other Women (1985)
Lisa Alther
3.82
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 34 (1.88 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
22Mark as read.Dogsong (1985)
Gary Paulsen
3.73
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 19 (2.14 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.Contact (1985)
Carl Sagan
3.72*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus.
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 663 (3.72 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 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: -62.70%
24Mark as read.The Fifth Son (1985)
Elie Wiesel
3.59
Genre: Novel

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)
25Mark as read.Davita's Harp (1985)
Chaim Potok
3.36
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 12 (1.77 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 22 (1.59 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
26Mark as read.The Class (1985)
Erich Segal
2.82
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 24 (1.65 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
27Mark as read.Walk Me to the Distance (1985)
Percival Everett
2.81
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 20 (1.53 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
28Mark as read.Days Between Stations (1985)
Steve Erickson
2.50
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 8 (1.47 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.The Mammoth Hunters (1985)
Jean M. Auel
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)
30Mark as read.Providence (1985)
Geoffrey Wolff
2.33
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 23 (1.62 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
31Mark as read.Waiting for the End of the World (1985)
Madison Smartt Bell
2.09
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 11 (1.19 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
32Mark as read.The Cat Who Walks Through Walls (1985)
Robert Heinlein
1.94
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 0 (0.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
33Mark as read.Death Is a Lonely Business (1985)
Ray Bradbury
1.80
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 9 (1.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
34Mark as read.Song of Kali (1985)
Dan Simmons
1.67
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 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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