1608 in literature
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The year 1608 in literature involved some significant events.
- January 10 – Ben Jonson's The Masque of Beauty is performed by Queen Anne and her retinue at the Banqueting House, Whitehall, a sequel to The Masque of Blackness.
- February 9 – Another masque by Jonson, The Hue and Cry After Cupid, is performed at the Banqueting House, with sets designed by Inigo Jones.
- March 31 – Hamlet is performed aboard the East India Company ship Red Dragon, under the command of Capt. William Keeling.
- June - Thomas Overbury is knighted.
- Performances of George Chapman's play The Conspiracy and Tragedy of Charles, Duke of Byron in London are suppressed after the French Ambassador complains to King James.
- Henry Ainsworth publishes a response to Richard Bernard's The Separatist Schisme.
- Juan Ruiz de Alarcón returns to Mexico from Spain, to take up an academic post.
- Arthur Johnston goes to Italy to study at Padua.
- The Morgan Bible is given by Cardinal Bernard Maciejowski, Bishop of Cracow, to Abbas I (Shah of Persia).
- Thomas Coryat begins his walking tour of Europe.
- George Abbot – A Brief Description of the Whole World
- Robert Armin – A Nest of Ninnies
- Thomas Dekker – The Dead Term
- Thomas Dekker – The Bellman of London
- Francesco Maria Guazzo – Compendium Maleficarum
- Mathurin Régnier – Les Premieres d'Euvres ou Satyres de Regnier
- Salomon Schweigger – Newe Reyßbeschreibung Teutschland Auss to Constantinople
- "P. F." – The History of the Damnable Life and Deserved Death of Doctor John Faustus
- Lording Barry – Ram Alley (published)
- George Chapman – The Conspiracy and Tragedy of Charles, Duke of Byron
- John Day – Humour Out of Breath and Law Tricks published
- Thomas Heywood – The Rape of Lucrece published
- Ben Jonson
- Henry Machin & Gervase Markham – The Dumb Knight
- The Merry Devil of Edmonton (attributed to William Shakespeare, Michael Drayton, and others)
- Thomas Middleton
- John Sansbury – Periander
- William Shakespeare – King Lear (published)
- See 1608 in poetry
- February 6 – António Vieira, Portuguese Jesuit orator and writer (died 1697)
- February 12 – Daniello Bartoli, Jesuit writer (died 1685)
- December 8 - Vendela Skytte, Swedish noblewoman, salonist and poet (died 1629)
- December 9 – John Milton, poet and author (died 1674)
- date unknown
- January 28 - Enrique Henríquez, Jesuit theologian (born 1536)
- February 16 – Nicolas Rapin, translator, poet and satirist (born 1535)
- February 26
- April 19 – Thomas Sackville, 1st Earl of Dorset, statesman and poet (born 1536)
- June 19
- July 26 – Pablo de Céspedes, poet and artist (born 1538)
- September - Mary Arden, mother of Shakespeare (born c.1540)
- October 19
- date unknown