1790 in literature
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This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1790.
- February 19 – Execution of the 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, shakes his head in disgust, and says: "I see that you have made three spelling mistakes."
- May 21 – Thomas Warton dies. Succeeded as Poet Laureate of Great Britain by writer and police magistrate Henry James Pye (who has just retired as a Member of Parliament) after 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 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, specializing in Gothic fiction.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe – Torquato Tasso (completed)
- Edmond Malone (editor) – The Plays and Poems of William Shakespeare
- Leandro Fernández de Moratín – El viejo y la niña ("The Old Man and the Young Girl", published)
- Mariana Starke – The Widow of Malabar
- Samuel Ayscough – An Index to the Remarkable Passages and Words Made Use of by Shakespeare, first Shakespeare concordance published
- James Bruce – Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile
- Edmund Burke – Reflections on the Revolution in France
- Hannah More – An Estimate of the Religion of the Fashionable World
- Jean Paul – Leben des vergnügten Schulmeisterlein Maria Wutz (Life of the Devoted School Mistress MW)
- Alexander Radishchev – Journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow
- Louis Claude de Saint-Martin – L'Homme de désir
- Mary Wollstonecraft – A Vindication of the Rights of Men
- January 1 – James Wills, Irish poet (died 1868)
- January 10 – Anders Abraham Grafström, Swedish historian, priest and poet (died 1870)
- January 29 – George Métivier, Guernsey poet writing in Guernésiais (died 1881)
- March 3 – John Austin, English legal philosopher (died 1859)
- March 6 – Jacques Arago, French traveler 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)
- July 8 – Fitz-Greene Halleck, American poet (died 1867)
- August 8 – Ferenc Kölcsey, Hungarian poet and critic (died 1838)
- October 1 – Charlotte Elizabeth Tonna, English novelist (died 1846)
- October 21 – Alphonse de Lamartine, French poet (died 1869)
- December 8 – Richard Carlile, English advocate of suffrage and press freedom (died 1843)
- December 25 – Anna Eliza Bray, English novelist and travel writer (died 1883)
- Unknown date — Mary Diana Dods (also as David Lyndsay and Walter Sholto Douglas), Scottish writer (died 1830 in literature)
- April 29 – Charles-Nicolas Cochin, French art critic (born 1715)
- May 2 – Martin Madan, English writer and cleric (born 1726)
- May 6 – Jacques Antoine Hippolyte, Comte de Guibert, French military writer (born 1743)
- May 21 – Thomas Warton, English poet and literary historian (born 1798)
- July 7 – François Hemsterhuis, Dutch philosopher (born 1721)
- July 17 – Adam Smith, Scottish philosopher and political economist (born 1723)
- July 25 – William Livingston, American political writer and politician (born 1723)
- Probable year of death – Marc-Antoine Eidous, French encyclopedist (born 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)
- "Ferenc Kolcsey". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
- "Adam Smith (1723-1790)". BBC. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
- "Julia Golding". www.egmont.co.uk. Retrieved 20 March 2018.