1759 in literature
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This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1759.
- By January 15 – Voltaire's satirical novel Candide, ou l'Optimisme is published simultaneously in five countries.
- January 15 – Opening of the British Museum in London.
- August 12 – Battle of Kunersdorf (Seven Years' War): German poet Major Ewald Christian von Kleist is fatally injured.
- December – Laurence Sterne has the first two volumes of his comic metafictional novel The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman printed at York in the shop owned by Ann Ward.
- Denis Diderot's Encyclopédie is temporarily suppressed by the French government.
- Rev. Hugh Blair begins to teach a course in the principles of literary composition at the University of Edinburgh, the first such university course in English literature.
- Johann Ernst Immanuel Walch becomes professor of rhetoric and poetry at the University of Jena.
- Earliest known professional performance of Shakespeare's Hamlet in North America (in Garrick's version), by the American Company in Philadelphia with Lewis Hallam Jr. in the title rôle.
- William Warburton becomes Bishop of Gloucester in the Church of England.
- Anonymous – The History of Some of the Penitents in the Magdalen-House (dated 1760)
- Sarah Fielding – The History of the Countess of Dellwyn
- Samuel Johnson – The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia (on Wikisource).
- Gotthold Lessing – Fables
- Madame Riccoboni – Lettres de Milady Juliette Catesby
- William Rider – Candidus (translation of Candide)
- Laurence Sterne – The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, vols 1–2
- Voltaire – Candide
- William Hawkins – Cymbeline (adapted from William Shakespeare)
- Arthur Murphy – The Orphan of China
- James Townley – High Life Below Stairs
- Samuel Butler – The Genuine Remains (collected works)
- Edward Capell – Prolusions
- John Gilbert Cooper – Ver-Vert (transl.)
- William Mason – Caractacus
- Augustus Montague Toplady – Poems on Sacred Subjects
- Franz Aepinus – Tentamen Theoriae Electricitatis et Magnetismi (An Attempt at a Theory of Electricity and Magnetism)
- Edmund Burke – The Annual Register
- Angélique du Coudray – Abrégé de l'art des accouchements (The Art of Obstetrics)
- Alexander Gerard – An Essay on Taste
- Oliver Goldsmith
- The Bee (periodical solely by Goldsmith)
- An Enquiry into the Present State of Polite Learning in Europe
- David Hume – The History of England, Under the House of Tudor
- Richard Hurd – Moral and Political Dialogues
- Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon – The Life of Edward Earl of Clarendon Written by Himself
- William Robertson – The History of Scotland during the Reigns of Queen Mary and of King James
- Adam Smith – The Theory of Moral Sentiments
- Arthur Young – Reflections on the Present State of Affairs at Home and Abroad
- Edward Young – Conjectures on Original Composition
- January 25 – Robert Burns, Scottish poet writing in Braid Scots and English (died 1796)
- March 5 – John Jamieson, Scottish lexicographer (died 1838)
- March 29 – Alexander Chalmers, Scottish biographer and editor (died 1834)
- April 27 – Mary Wollstonecraft, English political writer and advocate of women's rights (died 1797)
- May 4 (baptism) – Isabella Kelly, Scottish novelist and poet (died 1857)
- June 17 – Helen Maria Williams, English novelist, poet and translator from French (died 1827)
- October 13 – Mary Hays, English writer and advocate of women's rights (died 1843)
- November 10 – Friedrich Schiller, German poet and dramatist (died 1805)
- December 25 – Richard Porson, English classicist (died 1808)
- Unknown date – Deen Mahomet, author of first book in English by an Indian (died 1851)
- June 12 – William Collins, English poet (born 1721)
- June 26 – Arthur Young, English religious writer and cleric (born 1693)
- July 27 – Pierre-Louis Maupertuis, French philosopher (born 1698)
- July 29 – Kata Bethlen, Hungarian memoirist and correspondent (born 1700)
- August 6 – Eugene Aram, English philologist and murderer (born 1704)
- August 24 – Ewald Christian von Kleist, German poet (born 1715)
- September 5 – Lauritz de Thurah, Danish architectural historian (born 1706)
- October 7 – Joseph Ames, English bibliographer and antiquary (born 1680)
- Probable year of death – Anton Wilhelm Amo, West African-born German philosopher (born 1703)