1742 in literature
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This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1742.
- February – Henry Fielding's picaresque novel Joseph Andrews ("The History of the Adventures of Joseph Andrews and of his Friend Mr. Abraham Adams, written in imitation of the manner of Cervantes, author of Don Quixote") is published anonymously in London. Described by Fielding as a "comic epic poem in prose", it is his first full-length novel and one of the earliest in the English language. A 2nd edition is published on June 10.
- December 2 – The Pennsylvania Journal first appears in the United States.
- Irish portraitist Charles Jervas's English translation of Don Quixote is published three years after his death. Through a printer's error, the translator's name is printed as 'Charles Jarvis', leading the book to forever be known as the Jarvis translation. It is acclaimed as the most faithful English rendering of the novel made up to this time.
- 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 – The Sofa: A Moral Tale (Le Sopha, conte moral)
- Henry Fielding – Joseph Andrews
- Eliza Haywood – The Virtuous Villager
- Charles Jervas (translator) – Don Quixote
- Charlotte Charke – Tit for Tat
- Charles Jennens – libretto 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
- 'Jorge Pitillas' (José Gerardo Hervás) – Sátira contra los malos escritores de este siglo
- William Shenstone – The School-Mistress
- William Somervile – Field Sports
- Charles Hanbury Williams – The Country Girl: An ode
- Edward Young – Night Thoughts
- Colley Cibber – A Letter from Mr. Cibber to Mr. Pope (in re Pope's satirizing of Cibber)
- Ignacio de Luzán – Carta en defensa de España
- Philip Doddridge – Evidences of Christianity
- Pierre Simon Fournier – Modèles des Caractères
- David Hume – Essays Moral and Political vol. ii
- Benito Jerónimo Feijoo – Cartas eruditas y curiosas
- 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
- 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 date – 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)