1820 in literature
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This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1820.
- January 16 – Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery by "Northamptonshire peasant poet" John Clare is published in England by John Taylor.
- April 22 – Walter Scott is created 1st baronet of Abbotsford in the County of Roxburgh in the Baronetage of the United Kingdom.
- September – Poet John Keats, suffering from tuberculosis, leaves London to take up residence in the house on the Spanish Steps in Rome where he will die in 1821.
- November 20 – An 80-ton sperm whale attacks the Essex, a whaleship from Nantucket, Massachusetts, 2,000 miles off the western coast of South America. Herman Melville's 1851 novel Moby-Dick is in part inspired by this story.
- Robert Chambers's publishing company publishes The Songs of Robert Burns.
- Thomas Kendall has the first book printed in the Māori language, A korao no New Zealand; or, the New Zealander's first book; being an attempt to compose some lessons for the instruction of the natives, published in Sydney, Australia.
- First translation of the Old English epic poem Beowulf into a modern language, Danish, Bjovulfs Drape, made by N. F. S. Grundtvig.
- The Cambridge Apostles, an intellectual discussion group, is established at the University of Cambridge in England.
- James Fenimore Cooper – Precaution
- Thomas Gaspey – Forty Years Ago
- Robert Huish – Castle of Nielo
- Francis Lathom – Italian Mysteries
- Charles Maturin (anonymously) – Melmoth the Wanderer
- Regina Marie Roche – The Munster Cottage Boy
- Sir Walter Scott
- Louisa Stanhope – The Crusaders
- Rosalia St. Clair – The Highland Castle, and the Lowland Cottage
- Maria Hack
- English Stories, illustrating some of the most interesting events and characters between the Accession of Alfred and the Death of John
- English Stories. Second series, between the Accession of Henry the Third and the Death of Henry the Sixth
- Mary Shelley – Maurice, or the Fisher's Cot (written 1820 then lost, published 1997)
- Robert Burns (died 1796) – The Songs of Robert Burns
- John Clare – Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery
- John Keats
- Alphonse de Lamartine – Méditations poétiques
- Adam Mickiewicz – Ode to Youth (Oda do młodości)
- Nguyễn Du – The Tale of Kieu (斷腸新聲, Truyện Kiều)
- Aleksandr Pushkin – Ruslan and Ludmila (Руслан и Людмила)
- Percy Bysshe Shelley – To a Skylark
- Thomas Brown – Lectures on the Philosophy of the Human Mind
- Howard Douglas – A Treatise on Naval Gunnery
- Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel – Elements of the Philosophy of Right
- John George Hoffman – Pow-Wows; or, Long Lost Friend
- Claude François Lallemand – Recherches anatomico-pathologiques sur l'encéphale et ses dépendances (to 1832)
- Charles Lamb – Essays of Elia
- Thomas Malthus – Principles of Political Economy
- Charles Mills – History of the Crusades for the Recovery and Possession of the Holy Land
- Robert Southey – Life of Wesley
- Mariana Starke – Travels on the Continent: written for the use and particular information of travellers
- January 17 – Anne Brontë, English novelist and poet (died 1849)
- February 28 – John Tenniel, English illustrator and cartoonist (died 1914)
- March 2 – Multatuli (Eduard Douwes Dekker), Dutch writer (died 1887)
- March 17 – Jean Ingelow, English poet and novelist (died 1897)
- March 30 – Anna Sewell, English novelist (died 1878)
- April 4 – Mkrtich Khrimian, Armenian Catholicos, essayist and poet (died 1907)
- April 26 – Alice Cary, American poet and short-story writer (died 1871)
- June 21 – James Halliwell-Phillipps, English bibliophile (died 1889)
- August 13 – Sir George Grove, English writer and lexicographer on music (died 1900)
- September 17 – Émile Augier, French dramatist (died 1889)
- October 14 – John Harris, English poet (died 1884)
- November 23 – Afanasy Fet, Russian poet, essayist and short-story writer (died 1892)
- November 28 – Friedrich Engels, German socialist writer (died 1895)
- February 5 – William Drennan, Irish poet, radical and educationalist (born 1754)
- March 20 – Eaton Stannard Barrett, Irish satirical poet and novelist (born 1786)
- May 1 – Richmal Mangnall, English schoolbook writer (born 1769)
- July 16 – William Hazlitt Sr., Irish writer, radical and Unitarian minister (born 1737)
- September 16 – Nguyễn Du, Vietnamese poet (born 1766)
- November 12 – William Hayley, English poet and biographer (born 1745)