1678 in literature
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The year 1678 in literature involved some significant events.
- February - English dramatist Thomas Otway, perhaps escaping from an unhappy love affair with his leading actress, obtains a commission in an English regiment serving in the Franco-Dutch War, sent in July to Flanders.
- February 18 - The first part of English nonconformist John Bunyan's Christian allegory The Pilgrim's Progress (partly written while he was imprisoned for unlicensed preaching) is published in London.
- November - English printer Joseph Moxon becomes the first tradesman to be elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of London.
- Jacob Boehme - Mysterium Magnum, oder Erkärung über das Erste Buch Mosis (Amsterdam & Frankfurt; contains a portrait of Boehme by N. van Werd)
- John Bunyan - The Pilgrim's Progress
- Ralph Cudworth - The True Intellectual System of the Universe
- Madame de la Fayette (published anonymously) - La Princesse de Clèves
- Sir Thomas Herbert - Threnodia Carolina
- Thomas Hobbes - Decameron Physiologicum
- Josiah King - The Examination and Trial of Old Father Christmas Together with his Clearing by the Jury
- The Mowing-Devil: or, Strange News out of Hartford-Shire (a woodcut showing what is alleged to be the first crop circle)
- The Works of Geber, Englished by Richard Russell.
- Thomas Rymer - The Tragedies of the Last Age Considered
- John Banks - The Destruction of Troy
- Aphra Behn - Sir Patient Fancy
- William Chamberlain - Wits Led by the Nose, or a Poet's Revenge published
- John Dryden
- All for Love
- The Kind Keeper
- Thomas d'Urfey
- Trick for Trick
- Squire Old-Sapp, or the Night Adventurers
- Edward Howard - The Man of Newmarket
- John Learned
- The Counterfeits
- The Rambling Justice
- Thomas Otway - Friendship in Fashion
- Samuel Pordage - The Siege of Babylon
- Edward Ravenscroft - The English Lawyer (adapted from George Ruggle's Latin play Ignoramus)
- Titus Andronicus, or the Rape of Lavinia (adapted from Shakespeare's play)
- Thomas Shadwell
- The History of Timon of Athens the Man-Hater
- A True Widow
- Nahum Tate - Brutus of Alba
- Anne Bradstreet - Several Poems Compiled with Great Variety of Wit and Learning (posthumously published)
- Samuel Butler - Hudibras, Part 3
- Dorthe Engelbrechtsdatter - Själens aandelige Sangoffer ("The Souls Spiritual Offering of Song")
- January 10 - Paul Gabriel Antoine, theologian (died 1743)
- May - Anna Maria van Schurman, poet
- July - Thomas Hearne, editor of medieval manuscripts (died 1735)
- December 14 - Daniel Neal, historian (died 1743)
- date unknown
- probable - George Farquhar, dramatist (died 1707)
- January 16 - Madeleine de Souvré, marquise de Sablé, salon hostess and writer
- April 12 - Sir Thomas Stanley, poet, author and translator (born 1625)
- May 4 - Abraham Woodhead, Catholic writer (born 1609)
- August 16 - Andrew Marvell, poet (born 1621)
- August 17 - Guillaume Herincx, Belgian Franciscan theologian (born 1621)
- November 21 - Robert Thoroton, antiquary (born 1623)
- date unknown
- probable - Richard Flecknoe (born c.1600)
- The action of Walter Scott's novel Peveril of the Peak (1823) centres on the Popish Plot beginning in this year.