1601 in literature
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The year 1601 in literature involved some significant events.
- January 21 – Tirso de Molina enters the monastery of San Antolín at Guadalajara, Spain.
- February 7 – The Lord Chamberlain's Men stage a performance of Shakespeare's Richard II at the Globe Theatre in London. The performance is specially commissioned (at a 40-shilling bonus) by the plotters in the Earl of Essex's rebellion of the following day. The plotters hope that the play, depicting the overthrow of a reigning monarch, will influence the public mood in their favor. The plot fails.
- February 17 – Actor Augustine Phillips, a member of the Lord Chamberlain's Men, is deposed by the Privy Council of England.
- Lancelot Andrewes becomes Dean of Westminster.
- Thomas Overbury meets Robert Carr, 1st Earl of Somerset, and they become firm friends.
- Tommaso Campanella, imprisoned in Italy for revolutionary plotting, is judged insane and spared the death penalty. He is sentenced to life imprisonment, and begins to write The City of the Sun.
- Philemon Holland publishes his translation of the Natural History of Pliny the Elder. When he composes Othello in the next year of so, Shakespeare exploits the book for references, including the "Anthropophagi" and the "Pontic Sea."
- Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas – Historia general de los hechos de los Castellanos, volume 1
- Philemon Holland – The Historie of the World, a translation of Pliny's Natural History
- Thomas Middleton – The Penniless Parliament of Threadbare Poets
- Achilles Tatius – The Adventures of Leucippe and Cleitophon (first printed edition of original Greek text)
- Anonymous (Sebastian Westcote?) – The Contention Between Liberality and Prodigality
- Thomas Dekker – Satiromastix
- Ben Jonson – The Poetaster performed, Cynthia's Revels published
- John Lyly – Love's Metamorphosis published
- John Marston – What You Will
- William Shakespeare – Twelfth Night, or What You Will; Hamlet (possible first performance)
- Robert Yarington – Two Lamentable Tragedies published
- Robert Chester – Love's Martyr. The volume also contains fourteen poems by other hands, including:
- Gervase Markham – Mary Magdalene's Tears
- John Weever – The Mirror of Martyrs, or The Life and Death of Sir John Oldcastle
- Bento Teixeira – Prosopopeia
- January 8 – Baltasar Gracián, prose author (died 1658)
- March 7 – Johann Michael Moscherosch, satirist (died 1669)
- June 5 – John Trapp, Biblical commentator (died 1669)
- July 17 – Emmanuel Maignan, theologian (died 1676)
- August 22 – Georges de Scudéry, novelist, dramatist and poet (died 1667)
- probable – François Tristan l'Hermite, dramatist (died 1655)
- January 11 – Scipione Ammirato, historian (born 1531)
- March 13 – Henry Cuffe, author and politician (born 1563) (executed)
- April 10 – Mark Alexander Boyd, poet (born 1562)
- August 19 – William Lambarde, legal writer (born 1536)
- August 31 - Gian Vincenzo Pinelli, humanist and book collector (born 1535)
- September – John Shakespeare, father of William Shakespeare (born c.1530)
- date unknown - John Hooker, English constitutionalist (born c.1527)
- probable – Thomas North, translator