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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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AMERICAN FICTION 1990

# Title Author Year Score
1Mark as read.The Things They CarriedTim O'Brien199011.58
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 722 (7.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 116 (2.91 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
2Mark as read.LucyJamaica Kincaid199011.31
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 230 (5.19 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 273 (3.84 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
3Mark as read.VinelandThomas Pynchon199010.79
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 170 (4.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 131 (3.03 points) | American Literature: 4 (1.22 points) | American Literary History: 4 (1.83 points)
4Mark as read.Middle PassageCharles Johnson19909.86
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 98 (3.92 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 182 (3.37 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
5Mark as read.DeceptionPhilip Roth19908.83
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 60 (3.31 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 288 (3.90 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
6Mark as read.DogeatersJessica Hagedorn19908.03
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 101 (3.96 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 40 (2.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
7Mark as read.Rabbit at RestJohn Updike19907.39
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 67 (3.44 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 49 (2.15 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
8Mark as read.Mean SpiritLinda Hogan19907.32
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 72 (3.53 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 75 (2.51 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
9Mark as read.The Difference EngineBruce Sterling19907.25
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 191 (4.89 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 63 (2.36 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
10Mark as read.Devil in a Blue DressWalter Mosley19907.21
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 102 (3.98 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 70 (2.45 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
11Mark as read.Jurassic ParkMichael Crichton19907.16
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 287 (5.57 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 22 (1.59 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
12Mark as read.Animal DreamsBarbara Kingsolver19907.01
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 73 (3.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 35 (1.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
13Mark as read.BearheartGerald Vizenor19906.86
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 78 (3.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 94 (2.71 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.Through the Arc of the Rain ForestKaren Tei Yamashita19906.25
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 75 (3.58 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 17 (1.43 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
15Mark as read.The Music of ChancePaul Auster19905.76
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 67 (3.44 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 60 (2.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.The Indian LawyerJames Welch19905.49
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 33 (2.66 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 59 (2.30 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.Migrant SoulsArturo Islas19905.21
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 43 (2.93 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 28 (1.75 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.SapogoniaAna Castillo19905.18
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 48 (3.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 47 (2.12 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
19Mark as read.Hocus PocusKurt Vonnegut19904.44
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 34 (2.69 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 28 (1.75 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.Wartime LiesLouis Begley19904.32
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 32 (2.63 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.A Home at the End of the WorldMichael Cunningham19904.22
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 27 (2.46 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 12 (1.24 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
22Mark as read.The Gift of Asher LevChaim Potok19903.84
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 23 (2.31 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 20 (1.53 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
23Mark as read.WildlifeRichard Ford19903.80
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 76 (2.52 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
24Mark as read.Mary ReillyValerie Martin19903.69
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 20 (2.19 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 19 (1.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
25Mark as read.Hayduke LivesEdward Abbey19903.53
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 28 (2.50 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 8 (1.03 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
26Mark as read.L.A. ConfidentialJames Ellroy19903.44
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 12 (1.77 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 25 (1.67 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
27Mark as read.Bodies of WaterMichelle Cliff19903.33
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 10 (1.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 26 (1.70 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
28Mark as read.The Witching HourAnne Rice19903.09
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 22 (2.27 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.Buffalo GirlsLarry McMurtry19902.97
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 14 (1.89 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 9 (1.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
30Mark as read.CanyonsGary Paulsen19902.91
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 9 (1.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 15 (1.36 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
31Mark as read.Wild at HeartBarry Gifford19902.85
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 14 (1.89 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 7 (0.97 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
32Mark as read.Get ShortyElmore Leonard19902.60
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 14 (1.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
33Mark as read.The Plains of PassageJean M. Auel19901.95
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 10 (1.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
34Mark as read.BedrockLisa Alther19901.85
Genre: Novel

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)
35Mark as read.The MacGuffinStanley Elkin19901.68
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
36Mark as read.FrogStephen Dixon19901.53
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 8 (1.03 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
37Mark as read.Meteors in AugustMelanie Rae Thon19901.47
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 18 (1.47 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
38Mark as read.A Graveyard for LunaticsRay Bradbury19901.18
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
39Mark as read.A Trail of Heart's Blood Wherever We GoRobert Olmstead19901.15
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
40Mark as read.Beyond DeservingSandra Scofield19900.82
Genre: Mixed Genre

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
# Score
1Mark as read.The Things They Carried (1990)
Tim O'Brien
11.58
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 722 (7.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 116 (2.91 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
2Mark as read.Lucy (1990)
Jamaica Kincaid
11.31
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 230 (5.19 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 273 (3.84 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
3Mark as read.Vineland (1990)
Thomas Pynchon
10.79
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 170 (4.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 131 (3.03 points) | American Literature: 4 (1.22 points) | American Literary History: 4 (1.83 points)
4Mark as read.Middle Passage (1990)
Charles Johnson
9.86
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 98 (3.92 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 182 (3.37 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
5Mark as read.Deception (1990)
Philip Roth
8.83
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 60 (3.31 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 288 (3.90 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
6Mark as read.Dogeaters (1990)
Jessica Hagedorn
8.03
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 101 (3.96 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 40 (2.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
7Mark as read.Rabbit at Rest (1990)
John Updike
7.39
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 67 (3.44 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 49 (2.15 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
8Mark as read.Mean Spirit (1990)
Linda Hogan
7.32
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 72 (3.53 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 75 (2.51 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
9Mark as read.The Difference Engine (1990)
Bruce Sterling
7.25
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 191 (4.89 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 63 (2.36 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
10Mark as read.Devil in a Blue Dress (1990)
Walter Mosley
7.21
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 102 (3.98 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 70 (2.45 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
11Mark as read.Jurassic Park (1990)
Michael Crichton
7.16
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 287 (5.57 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 22 (1.59 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
12Mark as read.Animal Dreams (1990)
Barbara Kingsolver
7.01
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 73 (3.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 35 (1.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
13Mark as read.Bearheart (1990)
Gerald Vizenor
6.86
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 78 (3.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 94 (2.71 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.Through the Arc of the Rain Forest (1990)
Karen Tei Yamashita
6.25
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 75 (3.58 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 17 (1.43 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
15Mark as read.The Music of Chance (1990)
Paul Auster
5.76
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 67 (3.44 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 60 (2.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.The Indian Lawyer (1990)
James Welch
5.49
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 33 (2.66 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 59 (2.30 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.Migrant Souls (1990)
Arturo Islas
5.21
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 43 (2.93 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 28 (1.75 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.Sapogonia (1990)
Ana Castillo
5.18
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 48 (3.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 47 (2.12 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
19Mark as read.Hocus Pocus (1990)
Kurt Vonnegut
4.44
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 34 (2.69 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 28 (1.75 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.Wartime Lies (1990)
Louis Begley
4.32
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 32 (2.63 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.A Home at the End of the World (1990)
Michael Cunningham
4.22
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 27 (2.46 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 12 (1.24 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
22Mark as read.The Gift of Asher Lev (1990)
Chaim Potok
3.84
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 23 (2.31 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 20 (1.53 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
23Mark as read.Wildlife (1990)
Richard Ford
3.80
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 76 (2.52 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
24Mark as read.Mary Reilly (1990)
Valerie Martin
3.69
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 20 (2.19 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 19 (1.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
25Mark as read.Hayduke Lives (1990)
Edward Abbey
3.53
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 28 (2.50 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 8 (1.03 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
26Mark as read.L.A. Confidential (1990)
James Ellroy
3.44
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 12 (1.77 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 25 (1.67 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
27Mark as read.Bodies of Water (1990)
Michelle Cliff
3.33
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 10 (1.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 26 (1.70 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
28Mark as read.The Witching Hour (1990)
Anne Rice
3.09
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 22 (2.27 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.Buffalo Girls (1990)
Larry McMurtry
2.97
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 14 (1.89 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 9 (1.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
30Mark as read.Canyons (1990)
Gary Paulsen
2.91
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 9 (1.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 15 (1.36 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
31Mark as read.Wild at Heart (1990)
Barry Gifford
2.85
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 14 (1.89 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 7 (0.97 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
32Mark as read.Get Shorty (1990)
Elmore Leonard
2.60
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 14 (1.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
33Mark as read.The Plains of Passage (1990)
Jean M. Auel
1.95
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 10 (1.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
34Mark as read.Bedrock (1990)
Lisa Alther
1.85
Genre: Novel

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)
35Mark as read.The MacGuffin (1990)
Stanley Elkin
1.68
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
36Mark as read.Frog (1990)
Stephen Dixon
1.53
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 8 (1.03 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
37Mark as read.Meteors in August (1990)
Melanie Rae Thon
1.47
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 18 (1.47 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
38Mark as read.A Graveyard for Lunatics (1990)
Ray Bradbury
1.18
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
39Mark as read.A Trail of Heart's Blood Wherever We Go (1990)
Robert Olmstead
1.15
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
40Mark as read.Beyond Deserving (1990)
Sandra Scofield
0.82
Genre: Mixed Genre

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)

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Include only works published between and .

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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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