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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 1987

# Title Author Year Score
1Mark as read.BelovedToni Morrison198727.15
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 2528 (10.62 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1612 (6.54 points) | American Literature: 29 (2.95 points) | American Literary History: 53 (5.54 points)
2Mark as read.The Bonfire of the VanitiesTom Wolfe19879.71
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 612 (7.02 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 92 (2.69 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
3Mark as read.The New York TrilogyPaul Auster19879.31
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 383 (6.09 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 69 (2.43 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
4Mark as read.No Telephone to HeavenMichelle Cliff19878.23
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 170 (4.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 126 (2.99 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
5Mark as read.DawnOctavia Butler19878.08
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 78 (3.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 114 (2.89 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
6Mark as read.The Thanatos SyndromeWalker Percy19877.48
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 107 (4.04 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 66 (2.40 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
7Mark as read.In the Country of Last ThingsPaul Auster19877.41
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 106 (4.03 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 48 (2.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
8Mark as read.A Yellow Raft in Blue WaterMichael Dorris19877.07
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 89 (3.80 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 42 (2.04 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
9Mark as read.HatchetGary Paulsen19876.47
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 157 (4.59 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 34 (1.88 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
10Mark as read.The Tidewater TalesJohn Barth19876.06
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 43 (2.93 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 35 (1.90 points) | American Literature: 4 (1.22 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
11Mark as read.The Western LandsWilliam S. Burroughs19875.42
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 61 (3.33 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 21 (1.56 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
12Mark as read.SphereMichael Crichton19875.27
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 14 (1.89 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 83 (2.59 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
13Mark as read.ReubenJohn Edgar Wideman19875.13
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 69 (2.43 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
14Mark as read.Crossing to SafetyWallace Stegner19875.06
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 40 (2.86 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 25 (1.67 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.More Die of HeartbreakSaul Bellow19875.05
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 51 (3.12 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 36 (1.92 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.Paco's StoryLarry Heinemann19875.04
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 46 (3.01 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 8 (1.03 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.BluebeardKurt Vonnegut19875.04
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 32 (2.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 34 (1.88 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.The Broom of the SystemDavid Foster Wallace19874.83
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 42 (2.91 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 36 (1.92 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
19Mark as read.You Must Remember ThisJoyce Carol Oates19874.78
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 12 (1.77 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 26 (1.70 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
20Mark as read.Ellen FosterKaye Gibbons19874.47
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 37 (2.78 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 26 (1.70 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.The Rules of AttractionBret Easton Ellis19873.73
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 39 (2.83 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
22Mark as read.Postcards from the EdgeCarrie Fisher19873.40
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 23 (2.31 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 9 (1.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
23Mark as read.TexasvilleLarry McMurtry19873.40
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 17 (1.43 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
24Mark as read.Rich in LoveJosephine Humphreys19873.22
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 13 (1.83 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 16 (1.40 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
25Mark as read.The James Joyce MurderAmanda Cross19873.12
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 14 (1.89 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 12 (1.24 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
26Mark as read.That NightAlice McDermott19873.03*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus.
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 14 (0.99 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: -48.01%
27Mark as read.Walking Across EgyptClyde Edgerton19872.91
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 12 (1.77 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
28Mark as read.World's EndT. C. Boyle19872.71
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 14 (1.89 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
29Mark as read.The Medusa FrequencyRussell Hoban19872.59
Genre: Novel

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)
30Mark as read.Wheat that Springeth GreenJ. F. Powers19872.57
Genre: Mixed Genre

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
31Mark as read.What the Hell for You Left Your Heart in San Francisco?Bienvenido Santos19872.45
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 10 (1.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
32Mark as read.VanishedMary McGarry Morris19872.03
Genre: Mixed Genre

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
33Mark as read.Persian NightsDiane Johnson19871.85
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
34Mark as read.Rabble StarkeyLois Lowry19871.48
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 8 (1.03 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
35Mark as read.Presumed InnocentScott Turow19870.90
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
# Score
1Mark as read.Beloved (1987)
Toni Morrison
27.15
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 2528 (10.62 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1612 (6.54 points) | American Literature: 29 (2.95 points) | American Literary History: 53 (5.54 points)
2Mark as read.The Bonfire of the Vanities (1987)
Tom Wolfe
9.71
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 612 (7.02 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 92 (2.69 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
3Mark as read.The New York Trilogy (1987)
Paul Auster
9.31
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 383 (6.09 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 69 (2.43 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
4Mark as read.No Telephone to Heaven (1987)
Michelle Cliff
8.23
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 170 (4.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 126 (2.99 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
5Mark as read.Dawn (1987)
Octavia Butler
8.08
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 78 (3.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 114 (2.89 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
6Mark as read.The Thanatos Syndrome (1987)
Walker Percy
7.48
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 107 (4.04 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 66 (2.40 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
7Mark as read.In the Country of Last Things (1987)
Paul Auster
7.41
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 106 (4.03 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 48 (2.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
8Mark as read.A Yellow Raft in Blue Water (1987)
Michael Dorris
7.07
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 89 (3.80 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 42 (2.04 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
9Mark as read.Hatchet (1987)
Gary Paulsen
6.47
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 157 (4.59 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 34 (1.88 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
10Mark as read.The Tidewater Tales (1987)
John Barth
6.06
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 43 (2.93 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 35 (1.90 points) | American Literature: 4 (1.22 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
11Mark as read.The Western Lands (1987)
William S. Burroughs
5.42
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 61 (3.33 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 21 (1.56 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
12Mark as read.Sphere (1987)
Michael Crichton
5.27
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 14 (1.89 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 83 (2.59 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
13Mark as read.Reuben (1987)
John Edgar Wideman
5.13
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 69 (2.43 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
14Mark as read.Crossing to Safety (1987)
Wallace Stegner
5.06
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 40 (2.86 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 25 (1.67 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.More Die of Heartbreak (1987)
Saul Bellow
5.05
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 51 (3.12 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 36 (1.92 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.Paco's Story (1987)
Larry Heinemann
5.04
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 46 (3.01 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 8 (1.03 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.Bluebeard (1987)
Kurt Vonnegut
5.04
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 32 (2.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 34 (1.88 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.The Broom of the System (1987)
David Foster Wallace
4.83
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 42 (2.91 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 36 (1.92 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
19Mark as read.You Must Remember This (1987)
Joyce Carol Oates
4.78
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 12 (1.77 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 26 (1.70 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
20Mark as read.Ellen Foster (1987)
Kaye Gibbons
4.47
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 37 (2.78 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 26 (1.70 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.The Rules of Attraction (1987)
Bret Easton Ellis
3.73
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 39 (2.83 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
22Mark as read.Postcards from the Edge (1987)
Carrie Fisher
3.40
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 23 (2.31 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 9 (1.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
23Mark as read.Texasville (1987)
Larry McMurtry
3.40
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 17 (1.43 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
24Mark as read.Rich in Love (1987)
Josephine Humphreys
3.22
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 13 (1.83 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 16 (1.40 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
25Mark as read.The James Joyce Murder (1987)
Amanda Cross
3.12
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 14 (1.89 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 12 (1.24 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
26Mark as read.That Night (1987)
Alice McDermott
3.03*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus.
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 14 (0.99 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: -48.01%
27Mark as read.Walking Across Egypt (1987)
Clyde Edgerton
2.91
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 12 (1.77 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
28Mark as read.World's End (1987)
T. C. Boyle
2.71
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 14 (1.89 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
29Mark as read.The Medusa Frequency (1987)
Russell Hoban
2.59
Genre: Novel

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)
30Mark as read.Wheat that Springeth Green (1987)
J. F. Powers
2.57
Genre: Mixed Genre

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
31Mark as read.What the Hell for You Left Your Heart in San Francisco? (1987)
Bienvenido Santos
2.45
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 10 (1.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
32Mark as read.Vanished (1987)
Mary McGarry Morris
2.03
Genre: Mixed Genre

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
33Mark as read.Persian Nights (1987)
Diane Johnson
1.85
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
34Mark as read.Rabble Starkey (1987)
Lois Lowry
1.48
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 8 (1.03 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
35Mark as read.Presumed Innocent (1987)
Scott Turow
0.90
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 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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