1742 in literature
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The year 1742 in literature involved some significant events and new books.
- December 2 - The Pennsylvania Journal first appears in print in the United States.
- The Stockholm Gazette, founded by Peter Momma, begins publication.
- French typefounder Pierre Simon Fournier's Modèles des Caractères presents his system of point sizes for typography.
- Pierre de Marivaux is elected to the Académie française.
- Claude Prosper Jolyot de Crébillon - Le Sopha, conte moral
- Henry Fielding - Joseph Andrews
- Eliza Haywood - The Virtuous Villager
- Charles Jervas (misprinted as "Jarvis") - English translation of Don Quixote
- Charlotte Charke - Tit for Tat
- Charles Jennens - Messiah (libretto and music for Handel's piece)
- José de Cañizares - El anillo de Giges
- Ignacio de Luzán - La virtud coronada
- William Collins - Persian Eclogues
- Thomas Cooke - Original Poems
- James Hammond - Love Elegies
- James Merrick - The Destruction of Troy
- William Shenstone - The School-Mistress
- William Somervile - Field Sports
- Charles Hanbury Williams - The Country Girl: An ode
- Edward Young - Night Thoughts
- José Gerardo Hervás, Jorge Pitillas - Sátira contra los malos escritores de este siglo
- Colley Cibber - A Letter from Mr. Cibber to Mr. Pope (in re Pope's satirizing of Cibber)
- Philip Doddridge - Evidences of Christianity
- Pierre Simon Fournier - Modèles des Caractères
- David Hume - Essays Moral and Political vol. ii
- Colin Maclaurin - Treatise on Fluxions
- John Oldmixon - Memoirs of the Press, Historical and Political
- Horace Walpole and Sir Charles Hanbury Williams - The Lessons for the Day (satire on William Pulteney, Bolingbroke, and the "Patriot Whigs").
- William Warburton - A Critical and Philosophical Commentary on Mr. Pope's Essay on Man
- John Wesley
- The Character of a Methodist
- The Principles of a Methodist
- George Whitefield - Nine Sermons
- Ignacio de Luzán - Carta en defensa de España
- Benito Jerónimo Feijoo - Cartas eruditas y curiosas
- January 1 – Isaac Reed, English Shakespearean editor (died 1807)
- June 25 – Johann Schweighäuser, German classical scholar (died 1830)
- September 14 – James Wilson, American pamphleteer and publisher (died 1798)
- October 6 – Johan Herman Wessel, Norwegian author (died 1785)
- Unknown date – Ralph Broome, English pamphleteer (died 1805)
- March 23 – Jean-Baptiste Dubos, French author (born 1670)
- April 27 – Nicholas Amhurst, English poet and political writer (born 1697)
- July 9 – John Oldmixon, English historian (born 1673)
- July 14 – Richard Bentley, English scholar and critic (born 1662)
- July 19 – William Somervile, English poet (born 1675)
- November 24 – Andrew Bradford, American publisher (born 1686)