1642 in literature
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The year 1642 in literature involved some significant events.
- May - 35 year old John Milton marries the teenage Mary Powell. A few weeks later she leaves him in London and returns to her family in Oxfordshire.
- May–June - English Cavalier poet Richard Lovelace is incarcerated in the Gatehouse Prison, Westminster for defying Parliament, during which time he perhaps writes "To Althea, from Prison".
- September 2 - The theatres in London are closed by the Puritan government; the "lascivious mirth and levity" of stage plays are to "cease and be forborn" for the next eighteen years, during the English Civil War and the Interregnum. Reportedly Richard Brome's A Jovial Crew is staged on the final day, and so is the last play performed during the era of English Renaissance theatre.
- John Denham's Cooper's Hill is the first example in English of a poem devoted to local description, in this case the Thames scenery around the author's home at Egham in Surrey.
- Thomas Browne - Religio Medici
- Thomas Fuller - The Holy State and the Profane State
- Pieter Corneliszoon Hooft - Nederduytsche Historiën ("History of the Netherlands", publication begins)
- Sir Walter Ralegh - The Prince, or Maxims of State
- Alonso de Castillo Solórzano - La garduña de Sevilla y anzuelo de las bolsas
- Donaires del gusto
- James Shirley - The Sisters
- François le Métel de Boisrobert - La Belle Palène
- Pierre Corneille - Polyeucte
- Francis Jaques - The Queen of Corsica
- Pierre du Ryer - Saul
- Jan Vos - Klucht van Oene
- John Denham - Cooper's Hill
- Richard Lovelace - "To Althea, from Prison"
- Alonso de Castillo Solórzano - Academias morales de ls musas
- March 15 (bapt.) - Laurence Hyde, 1st Earl of Rochester, English politician and writer (died 1711)
- April 21 - Simon de la Loubère, French diplomat, writer, mathematician and poet (died 1729)
- April 30 - Christian Weise, German dramatist and poet (died 1708)
- December 30 - Vincenzo da Filicaja, Florentine poet (died 1707)
- date unknown
- May 14 - Nicolas Ysambert, French theologian (born c.1565)
- June 1 - Sir Sir John Suckling, poet (born 1609)
- July 5 - Festus Hommius, Dutch Calvinist theologian (born 1576)
- date unknown