1742 in literature
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This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1742.
- December 2 – The Pennsylvania Journal first appears in print in the United States.
- The Stockholm Gazette, founded by Peter Momma, begins publication.
- Publisher Robert Foulis acquires his own printing press in Glasgow.
- 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) – Don Quixote (English translation)
- Charlotte Charke – Tit for Tat
- Charles Jennens – Messiah (libretto and music for Handel's Messiah)
- 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)
- March 25 – William Combe, English writer, poet and adventurer (died 1823)
- 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)
- Probable year of birth – Mihály Bakos (Miháo Bakoš), Slovene hymnist and Lutheran minister (died 1803)
- 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)