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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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Include only works published between and .

Althorithm Modifications

Change the weight of these data points in order to change the shape of your canon.









AMERICAN FICTION 2000

# Title Author Year Score
1Mark as read.The Human StainPhilip Roth200011.34
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 352 (5.93 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 273 (3.84 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
2Mark as read.House of LeavesMark Z. Danielewski20007.65
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 226 (5.16 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 26 (1.70 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
3Mark as read.The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and ClayMichael Chabon20007.58
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 179 (4.79 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 30 (1.79 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
4Mark as read.BlondeJoyce Carol Oates20007.07
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 49 (3.08 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 126 (2.99 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
5Mark as read.RavelsteinSaul Bellow20006.34
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 108 (4.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 58 (2.29 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
6Mark as read.Angels and DemonsDan Brown20005.73
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 123 (4.23 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 19 (1.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
7Mark as read.Prodigal SummerBarbara Kingsolver20004.89
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 70 (3.49 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 16 (1.40 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
8Mark as read.Blue AngelFrancine Prose20004.80
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 20 (2.19 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 14 (1.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
9Mark as read.A Storm Of SwordsGeorge R. R. Martin20003.92
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 54 (3.19 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
10Mark as read.Bee SeasonMyla Goldberg20003.88
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 34 (2.69 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 11 (1.19 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
11Mark as read.The Feast of LoveCharles Baxter20003.10
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 11 (1.70 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
12Mark as read.The DiagnosisAlan Lightman20003.03
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 10 (1.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.The Angel on the RoofRussell Banks20002.64
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
14Mark as read.The Quick and the DeadJoy Williams20002.55
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 9 (1.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.A Conspiracy of PaperDavid Liss20002.45
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 13 (1.83 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.The Whalestoe LettersMark Z. Danielewski20002.05
Genre: Novella

Google Scholar: 9 (1.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.The Name of the WorldDenis Johnson20001.96
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 0 (0.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
18Mark as read.Drowning RuthChristina Schwarz20001.79
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 8 (1.47 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
19Mark as read.A portrait of the artist, as an old manJoseph Heller20001.78
Genre: Novel

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)
20Mark as read.PeriodDennis Cooper20001.70*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): 99 (1.49 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: 1 (0.21 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: -81.14%
21Mark as read.The last SamuraiHelen DeWitt20001.67
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 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.MerrickAnne Rice20001.02
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 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 Human Stain (2000)
Philip Roth
11.34
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 352 (5.93 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 273 (3.84 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
2Mark as read.House of Leaves (2000)
Mark Z. Danielewski
7.65
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 226 (5.16 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 26 (1.70 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
3Mark as read.The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (2000)
Michael Chabon
7.58
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 179 (4.79 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 30 (1.79 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
4Mark as read.Blonde (2000)
Joyce Carol Oates
7.07
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 49 (3.08 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 126 (2.99 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
5Mark as read.Ravelstein (2000)
Saul Bellow
6.34
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 108 (4.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 58 (2.29 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
6Mark as read.Angels and Demons (2000)
Dan Brown
5.73
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 123 (4.23 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 19 (1.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
7Mark as read.Prodigal Summer (2000)
Barbara Kingsolver
4.89
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 70 (3.49 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 16 (1.40 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
8Mark as read.Blue Angel (2000)
Francine Prose
4.80
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 20 (2.19 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 14 (1.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
9Mark as read.A Storm Of Swords (2000)
George R. R. Martin
3.92
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 54 (3.19 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
10Mark as read.Bee Season (2000)
Myla Goldberg
3.88
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 34 (2.69 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 11 (1.19 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
11Mark as read.The Feast of Love (2000)
Charles Baxter
3.10
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 11 (1.70 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
12Mark as read.The Diagnosis (2000)
Alan Lightman
3.03
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 10 (1.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.The Angel on the Roof (2000)
Russell Banks
2.64
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
14Mark as read.The Quick and the Dead (2000)
Joy Williams
2.55
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 9 (1.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.A Conspiracy of Paper (2000)
David Liss
2.45
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 13 (1.83 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.The Whalestoe Letters (2000)
Mark Z. Danielewski
2.05
Genre: Novella

Google Scholar: 9 (1.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.The Name of the World (2000)
Denis Johnson
1.96
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 0 (0.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
18Mark as read.Drowning Ruth (2000)
Christina Schwarz
1.79
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 8 (1.47 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
19Mark as read.A portrait of the artist, as an old man (2000)
Joseph Heller
1.78
Genre: Novel

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)
20Mark as read.Period (2000)
Dennis Cooper
1.70*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): 99 (1.49 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: 1 (0.21 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: -81.14%
21Mark as read.The last Samurai (2000)
Helen DeWitt
1.67
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 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.Merrick (2000)
Anne Rice
1.02
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 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:

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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