1790 in literature
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In poetry: 1787 1788 1789 -1790- 1791 1792 1793
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The year 1790 in literature involved some significant literary events and new works.
- February 19 - Execution of the very literary Thomas de Mahy, marquis de Favras (born 1744). Arrested by the radicals of the French Revolution, charged with plotting to help King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette escape the country and convicted of treason, de Mahy is handed his official death sentence by the court clerk. The Marquis reads the paper and shaking his head in disgust says: "I see that you have made three spelling mistakes."
- May 21 - Thomas Warton dies. He is succeeded as Poet Laureate of Great Britain by writer and police magistrate Henry James Pye (who has just retired as a Member of Parliament) following William Hayley's refusal of the office.
- May 31 - George Washington, President of the United States, approves the Copyright Act of 1790.
- June 9 - The Philadelphia Spelling Book ("The Philadelphia Spelling Book, Arranged Upon a Plan Entirely New") by John Barry becomes the first book to be copyrighted in the United States.
- Xavier de Maistre writes Voyage autour de ma chambre ("Voyage around my Room", published 1794) while under arrest in Turin (in the Kingdom of Sardinia) as the consequence of a duel.
- The Royal Literary Fund is founded in Britain by David Williams.
- Approximate date - William Lane establishes the Minerva Press in London, specialising in Gothic fiction.
- Edmond Malone (ed.) - The Plays and Poems of William Shakespeare.
- Mary Pilkington - Delia
- Ann Radcliffe - A Sicilian Romance
- Alexander Radishchev - Journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow
- Helen Maria Williams - Julia
Main article: 1790 in poetry
- Samuel Ayscough - An Index to the Remarkable Passages and Words Made Use of by Shakespeare, the first Shakespeare concordance ever published
- James Bruce - Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile (first edition)
- Edmund Burke - Reflections on the Revolution in France
- Louis Claude de Saint-Martin - L'Homme de Désir
- Jean Paul - Leben des vergnügten Schulmeisterlein Maria Wutz
- Mary Wollstonecraft - A Vindication of the Rights of Men (first edition November 29)
- January 1 - James Wills, Irish poet (died 1868)
- January 10 - Anders Abraham Grafström, Swedish historian, priest and poet (died 1870)
- March 6 - Jacques Arago, French traveller and writer (died 1855)
- March 18 - Marquis de Custine, French aristocrat and travel writer (died 1857)
- June 9 - Abel-François Villemain, French politician and writer (died 1870)
- June 24 - Helena Ekblom, Swedish writer and preacher (died 1859)
- October 1 - Charlotte Elizabeth Tonna, English novelist (died 1846)
- October 21 - Alphonse de Lamartine, French poet (died 1869)
- April 29 - Charles-Nicolas Cochin, art critic (born 1715)
- May 2 - Martin Madan, English clergyman and writer (born 1726)
- May 6 - Jacques Antoine Hippolyte, Comte de Guibert, French military writer (born 1743)
- May 21 - Thomas Warton, poet (born 1798)
- July 7 - François Hemsterhuis, Dutch philosopher (born 1721)
- July 17 - Adam Smith, Scottish philosopher (born 1723)
- December 17 - Martin Bergame, Hungarian poet (born 1734)
- probable - Marc-Antoine Eidous, French Encyclopedist (b. c. 1724)
- Patry, William F. "Copyright Law and Practice". Retrieved 2014-01-01.
- Miller, Ernest (2005-06-09). "June 9, 1790". Corante. Retrieved 2014-05-23.
- Webber, Caroline (2007-08-24). "Ann Radcliffe: A Sicilian Romance". The Literary Encyclopedia.
- Lamport, Francis John (1990). German Classical Drama: Theatre, Humanity and Nation, 1750-1870. Cambridge University Press. p. 90. ISBN 0-521-36270-9.
- Baigent, Elizabeth (2004). "Starke, Mariana (1762–1838)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/26314. Retrieved 2014-05-23. (subscription or UK public library membership required)