1588 in literature
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This is a list of literature-related events in 1588.
- January 1 - The Children of Paul's perform at the court of Queen Elizabeth I of England, probably acting Lyly's Gallathea.
- February 2 - The Children of Paul's return to the English court, probably with Lyly's Endymion.
- February 28 - The gentlemen of Gray's Inn perform Thomas Hughes' play The Misfortunes of Arthur before Queen Elizabeth I of England, at Greenwich Palace.
- November - Marprelate Controversy: The first tract by "Martin Marprelate", known as the Epistle, appears at Molesey.
- Venice's Biblioteca Marciana is completed by Vincenzo Scamozzi on the Piazza San Marco after more than a century of construction following a plan by the late Jacopo Sansovino.
- John Dee finishes Libri mysteriorum I-XVIII (Spiritual Diaries).
- 1588–1589 - Earliest probable date for the composition and first performance of Christopher Marlowe's The Tragicall History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus in London.
- William Allen - An Admonition to the nobility and people of England
- John Dee - De heptarchia mystica
- Robert Greene - Pandosto
- Thomas Hariot - A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia
- Thomas Nashe - The Anatomie of Absurditie
- William Rankins - The English Ape
- Welsh Bible (translation by William Morgan)
- Thomas Hughes - The Misfortunes of Arthur
- George Peele - The Battle of Alcazar (date first performed)
- Felipe Fernandez-Armesto - Two Prayers and a Sailor's Lilt Aboard the Spanish Armada
- Heinrich Meibom - Parodiarum horatianarum libri III et sylvarum libri II
- Jean de Sponde - Essai de quelques poèmes chrétiens
- April 5 - Thomas Hobbes, philosopher (died 1679)
- April 15 - Claudius Salmasius, Classical commentator (died 1653)
- September 8 - Marin Mersenne, theologian and philosopher (died 1648)
- date unknown
- February 24 - Johann Weyer, Dutch demonologist (born c.1515)
- March 29 - Christian Wurstisen, theologian and historian (born 1544)
- September 3 - Richard Tarlton, Elizabethan actor (born 1530)
- October 2 - Bernardino Telesio, Italian philosopher (born 1509)
- November 1 - Jean Daurat, French poet (born 1508)
- date unknown - Sperone Speroni, Humanist scholar and dramatist (born 1500)