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 0.9 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.


Include only works published between and .

Algorithm Modifications

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


      AMERICAN FICTION 1800-1899

      1Add to wishlist.Moby DickHerman Melville1851113.36
      2Add to wishlist.The Scarlet LetterNathaniel Hawthorne185089.95
      3Add to wishlist.Adventures of Huckleberry FinnMark Twain188483.87
      4Add to wishlist.The Portrait of a LadyHenry James188177.35
      5Add to wishlist.Uncle Tom's CabinHarriet Beecher Stowe185276.13
      6Add to wishlist.The Turn of the ScrewHenry James189865.56
      7Add to wishlist.Billy BuddHerman Melville189161.93
      8Add to wishlist.The House of the Seven GablesNathaniel Hawthorne185158.54
      9Add to wishlist.The Red Badge of CourageStephen Crane189557.14
      10Add to wishlist.TypeeHerman Melville184655.91
      11Add to wishlist.The BostoniansHenry James188655.85
      12Add to wishlist.The Confidence-ManHerman Melville185755.24
      13Add to wishlist.The AwakeningKate Chopin189952.46
      14Add to wishlist.The Blithedale RomanceNathaniel Hawthorne185251.92
      15Add to wishlist.The Marble FaunNathaniel Hawthorne186051.87
      16Add to wishlist.The Adventures of Tom SawyerMark Twain187650.66
      17Add to wishlist.MardiHerman Melville184949.67
      18Add to wishlist.A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's CourtMark Twain188948.97
      19Add to wishlist.Pudd'nhead WilsonMark Twain189448.53
      20Add to wishlist.The Princess CasamassimaHenry James188648.43
      21Add to wishlist.Washington SquareHenry James188047.70
      22Add to wishlist.Daisy MillerHenry James187847.53
      23Add to wishlist.Looking BackwardEdward Bellamy188846.78
      24Add to wishlist.Little WomenLouisa May Alcott186946.30
      25Add to wishlist.White-JacketHerman Melville185045.75
      26Add to wishlist.Roderick HudsonHenry James187545.27
      27Add to wishlist.Benito CerenoHerman Melville185544.21
      28Add to wishlist.RedburnHerman Melville184941.99
      29Add to wishlist.The AmericanHenry James187741.84*Corpus frequency correction applied.
      30Add to wishlist.The Tragic MuseHenry James189040.09
      31Add to wishlist.The Prince and the PauperMark Twain188139.84
      32Add to wishlist.OmooHerman Melville184738.79
      33Add to wishlist.McTeagueFrank Norris189938.46
      34Add to wishlist.The Spoils of PoyntonHenry James189738.31
      35Add to wishlist.The Rise of Silas LaphamWilliam Dean Howells188538.12
      36Add to wishlist.The PioneersJames Fenimore Cooper182338.04
      37Add to wishlist.Twice-Told TalesNathaniel Hawthorne183737.93
      38Add to wishlist.The Aspern PapersHenry James188837.49
      39Add to wishlist.What Maisie KnewHenry James189737.13
      40Add to wishlist.ClotelWilliam Wells Brown185336.31
      41Add to wishlist.A Hazard of New FortunesWilliam Dean Howells188935.96
      42Add to wishlist.The PrairieJames Fenimore Cooper182735.94
      43Add to wishlist.The Awkward AgeHenry James189935.73
      44Add to wishlist.The EuropeansHenry James187835.49
      45Add to wishlist.The Last of the MohicansJames Fenimore Cooper182635.36
      46Add to wishlist.DredHarriet Beecher Stowe185635.24
      47Add to wishlist.The Narrative of Arthur Gordon PymEdgar Allan Poe183835.12
      48Add to wishlist.Pierre: or The AmbiguitiesHerman Melville185234.88
      49Add to wishlist.The Gilded AgeCharles Dudley Warner187331.67
      50Add to wishlist.Israel PotterHerman Melville185531.62
      51Add to wishlist.The Country of the Pointed FirsSarah Orne Jewett189631.46
      52Add to wishlist.The Open BoatStephen Crane189831.39
      53Add to wishlist.Arthur MervynCharles Brockden Brown180030.66
      54Add to wishlist.A Modern InstanceWilliam Dean Howells188229.31
      55Add to wishlist.Maggie: A Girl of the StreetsStephen Crane189329.10
      56Add to wishlist.Iola LeroyFrances Harper189228.87
      57Add to wishlist.The DeerslayerJames Fenimore Cooper184128.78
      58Add to wishlist.The SpyJames Fenimore Cooper182128.12
      59Add to wishlist.Life in the Iron MillsRebecca Harding Davis186127.36
      60Add to wishlist.In the CageHenry James189827.28
      61Add to wishlist.The Wide, Wide WorldSusan Warner185027.27
      62Add to wishlist.The MonsterStephen Crane189926.96
      63Add to wishlist.RamonaHelen Hunt Jackson188426.16
      64Add to wishlist.Tom Sawyer AbroadMark Twain189425.63
      65Add to wishlist.The EncantadasHerman Melville185425.59
      66Add to wishlist.The Conjure WomanCharles Chesnutt189925.15
      67Add to wishlist.ConfidenceHenry James187924.87*Corpus frequency correction applied.
      68Add to wishlist.The Lesson of the MasterHenry James188824.76
      69Add to wishlist.The Damnation of Theron WareHarold Frederic189624.62
      70Add to wishlist.The PathfinderJames Fenimore Cooper184023.79
      71Add to wishlist.The GrandissimesGeorge Washington Cable188023.54
      72Add to wishlist.SalmagundiWashington Irving180823.52
      73Add to wishlist.Ruth HallFanny Fern185422.96
      74Add to wishlist.Hope LeslieCatharine Maria Sedgwick182722.87
      75Add to wishlist.Watch and WardHenry James187122.87
      76Add to wishlist.Personal Recollections of Joan of ArcMark Twain189622.63
      77Add to wishlist.Indian SummerWilliam Dean Howells188622.62
      78Add to wishlist.Our NigHarriet E. Wilson185922.58
      79Add to wishlist.The Minister's WooingHarriet Beecher Stowe185921.76
      80Add to wishlist.HobomokLydia Maria Child182421.73
      81Add to wishlist.Blake, or The Huts of AmericaMartin Delany185921.69
      82Add to wishlist.The PilotJames Fenimore Cooper180021.28
      83Add to wishlist.Sut LovingoodGeorge Washington Harris186720.96
      84Add to wishlist.The American ClaimantMark Twain189220.56
      85Add to wishlist.Ragged DickHoratio Alger186820.54
      86Add to wishlist.Tales of the Grotesque and ArabesqueEdgar Allan Poe183920.02
      87Add to wishlist.Home as FoundJames Fenimore Cooper180019.99
      88Add to wishlist.Tom Sawyer, DetectiveMark Twain189619.01
      89Add to wishlist.The ReverberatorHenry James188819.00
      90Add to wishlist.Madame de MauvesHenry James187418.82
      91Add to wishlist.Oldtown FolksHarriet Beecher Stowe186918.66
      92Add to wishlist.The LamplighterMaria Cummins185418.60
      93Add to wishlist.Sketches New and OldMark Twain187518.56
      94Add to wishlist.The Luck of Roaring CampBret Harte187018.48
      95Add to wishlist.A Traveler from AltruriaWilliam Dean Howells189418.13
      96Add to wishlist.The Wife of His YouthCharles Chesnutt189917.99
      97Add to wishlist.The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras CountyMark Twain186917.92
      98Add to wishlist.The Other HouseHenry James189617.90
      99Add to wishlist.Little Lord FauntleroyFrances Hodgson Burnett188617.83
      100Add to wishlist.The Sketch Book of Geoffrey CrayonWashington Irving181917.74


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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.

          We apply a slightly different n-gram frequency correction to New York Times citation counts. These are marked with a dagger, where applicable.


          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 double dagger.