1604 in literature
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The year 1604 in literature involved some significant events.
- January 1 - The King's Men perform Shakespeare's comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream at the English Court.
- July - Miguel de Cervantes sells the rights of the first part of his satirical novel on the theme of chivalry, Don Quixote (El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha), to Madrid publisher-bookseller Francisco de Robles. In September license to publish is granted and in December the printing (by Juan de la Cuesta) is finished for publication the following month.
- November 1 (Hallowmas day) - The King's Men perform Shakespeare's tragedy Othello at Whitehall Palace with Richard Burbage in the title role, the first recorded performance.
- November 4 - The King's Men perform Shakespeare's comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor at Whitehall Palace.
- December 26 - The King's Men perform Shakespeare's comedy Measure for Measure at Court.
- December 28 - The King's Men perform Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors at Court.
- December - A report indicates that the King's Men are performing a play on the politically sensitive subject of the Gowrie Conspiracy; the play is suppressed and does not survive, but does not impact the company's general success.
- First known performance of a Shakespeare play in translation: Romeo and Juliet is performed at Nördlingen in Bavaria in an anonymous German version, Von Romeo undth Julitha.
- Construction of the Red Bull Theatre in London.
- Last performances of the Beverley miracle plays in England.
- Isaac Casaubon becomes sub-librarian of the royal library in Paris.
- The Table Alphabeticall, the first known English dictionary to be organized by alphabetical ordering, is published.
- William Alexander, 1st Earl of Stirling - The Monarchic Tragedies; includes Croesus and Darius, two closet dramas
- Guru Arjan - Guru Granth Sahib
- Bhattakalanka Deva - Karnataka Sabdanusasana
- Lancelot de Casteau - L'Ouverture de cuisine
- Thomas Dekker
- News from Gravesend
- The Meeting of Gallants at an Ordinary
- Elizabeth Grymeston - Miscellanea: prayers, meditations, memoratives
- King James I of England - A Counterblaste to Tobacco
- Agnolo Monosini - Floris Italicae lingue libri novem
- Samuel Rowlands - Looke to it; for Ile stabbe ye
- John Stow - Revised edition of Summarie of Englyshe Chronicles
- Simon Studion - Naometria
- Samuel Daniel - Philotas; The Vision of the Twelve Goddesses (masque)
- Thomas Dekker and Thomas Middleton - The Honest Whore, Part 1
- Thomas Dekker and John Webster - Westward Ho
- Ben Jonson and Thomas Dekker - The Coronation Triumph
- Christopher Marlowe - Doctor Faustus (first quarto, the "A text"; original text probably written around 1589)
- John Marston - The Malcontent
- Thomas Middleton - Michaelmas Term
- William Shakespeare - Hamlet published (second quarto, "Q2", a "good" quarto as opposed to the 1603 "bad quarto", "Q1")
- Bernardo de Balbuena - La Grandeza Mexicana ("Mexico's Grandeur")
- Nicholas Breton - The Passionate Shepherd
- Anthony Scoloker - Daiphantus, or the Passions of Love
- May 10 - Jean Mairet, dramatist (died 1686)
- October 16 - Assoucy, burlesque poet (died 1677)
- date unknown
- February 25 - Manuel da Costa, Jesuit historian (born 1541)
- March 4 - Fausto Paolo Sozzini, theologian (born 1539)
- March 13 - Arnaud d'Ossat, diplomat and writer (born 1537)
- April - Thomas Churchyard, poet (born c.1520)
- June 24 - Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford (born 1550)
- August 3 - Bernardino de Mendoza, military historian (born c.1540)
- September 10 - William Morgan, Bible translator (born 1545)
- October 8 - Janus Dousa, historian and poet (born 1545)
- December 22 - Juan Jose Marti, novelist (born c.1570)
- date unknown