1739 in literature
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This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1739.
- January 16 – First performance of George Frideric Handel's oratorio Saul at the King's Theatre, Haymarket, London.
- February 9 – The Scots Magazine is first issued.
- February – George Whitefield first preaches in the open air, to miners at Kingswood, South Gloucestershire, England.
- April – John Wesley first preaches in the open air, at Whitefield's invitation.
- Henry Brooke's drama Gustavus Vasa is the first play banned under the Licensing Act of 1737.
- The first Bible in Estonian, Piibli Ramat, translated by Anton thor Helle, is published.
- Penelope Aubin – A Collection of Entertaining Histories and Novels
- John Campbell – The Travels and Adventures of Edward Bevan, Esq., formerly a merchant in London
- Elizabeth Carter
- Philip Doddridge – The Family Expositor
- Henry Fielding (as Captain Hercules Vinegar) – The Champion (periodical)
- Richard Glover – London
- David Hume (anonymously) – A Treatise of Human Nature (issued late 1738 but dated this year)
- William Law – The Grounds and Reasons of Christian Regeneration
- John Mottley (as Elijah Jenkins) – Joe Miller's Jests; or, the Wits Vade-Mecum
- Robert Nugent (attributed) – An Epistle to Sir Robert Walpole
- John Oldmixon – The History of England during the Reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth
- Laetitia Pilkington – The Statues
- Samuel Richardson – Aesop's Fables
- Elizabeth Rowe – Miscellaneous Works
- Thomas Sheridan – The Satires of Juvenal Translated
- Joseph Trapp – The Nature, Folly, Sin, and Danger, of Being Righteous Over-much (against George Whitefield)
- De la Gloire, ou entretien avec un Chinois
- Conseils a M. Helvetius
- Isaac Watts – The World to Come
- George Whitefield – A Continuation of the Reverend Mr. Whitefield's Journal
- Paul Whitehead – Manners
- Daniel Bellamy – Miscellanies in Prose and Verse
- Henry Brooke – Gustavus Vasa
- Henry Carey – Nancy (opera)
- Thomas Cooke – The Mournful Nuptials (not acted)
- David Mallet – Mustapha
- James Miller – An Hospital for Fools
- Edward Phillips – Britons, Strike Home
- William Shirley – The Parricide
- James Thomson – Edward and Eleonara
- Moses Browne – Poems
- Mary Collier – The Woman's Labour: an epistle to Mr Stephen Duck
- Mikhail Lomonosov – Ode on the Taking of Khotin from the Turks
- Robert Nugent
- An Ode on Mr. Pulteney
- An Ode, to His Royal Highness on His Birthday
- Odes and Epistles
- Jonathan Swift – Verses on the Death of Dr. Swift
- John Wesley – Hymns and Sacred Poems
- January – Twm o'r Nant, Welsh playwright and poet (died 1810)
- August 31 – Johann Augustus Eberhard, German theologian and philosopher (died 1809)
- November 20 – Jean-François de la Harpe, French critic (died 1803)
- Unknown date – Hugh Kelly, Irish-born dramatist and poet (died 1777)
- June 20 – Edmond Martène, French historian (born 1654)
- July 25 – Johann Christoph Wolf, German Hebrew scholar and bibliographer (born 1683)
- September 4 – George Lillo, English dramatist and actor (born 1691)
- October 18 – António José da Silva, Brazilian dramatist (born 1705)
- Probable year of death – Liu Zhi (劉智), Chinese Muslim scholar (born c. 1660)