1598 in literature
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- March 28 - Philip Henslowe contracts Edward Alleyn and Thomas Heywood to act for the Admiral's Men in London for 2 years.
- May 3 - Lope de Vega marries for the second time, to Juana de Guardo.
- c. May? - Premiėre of William Haughton's Englishmen for My Money, or, A Woman Will Have Her Will, considered the first city comedy, probably by the Admiral's Men at The Rose theatre in London.
- c. July? - Ben Jonson's comedy of humours Every Man in His Humour is probably first performed by the Lord Chamberlain's Men at the Curtain Theatre in London, perhaps with Shakespeare playing Kno'well.
- September 22 - Ben Jonson kills actor Gabriel Spenser in a duel in London and is briefly held in Newgate Prison but escapes capital punishment by pleading benefit of clergy.
- October - Edmund Spenser's castle at Kilcolman, near Doneraile in North Cork, is burned down by the native Irish forces of Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone. Spenser leaves for London shortly afterwards.
- December 28 - In London, The Theatre is dismantled.
- Lancelot Andrewes turns down the bishoprics of both Ely and Salisbury.
- Thomas Bodley refounds the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford.
- English poet Barnabe Barnes is prosecuted in Star Chamber for attempting to murder one John Browne, first by offering him a poisoned lemon and then by sweetening his wine with sugar laced with mercury sublimate; Browne survived the attempt.
- The year sees a burst of satirical writing in England, especially from John Marston; the excesses will lead to an official suppression in the following year.
- John Bodenham - Politeuphuia (Wits' Commonwealth)
- John Florio - A World of Words, an Italian/English dictionary, the first dictionary published in England to use quotations ("illustrations") to give meaning to the words
- Emanuel Ford - Parismus, the Renowned Prince of Bohemia (first part)
- King James VI of Scotland - The Trew Law of Free Monarchies
- Francis Meres - Palladis Tamia, Wits Treasury, including the first critical discussion of Shakespeare's works
- John Stow - Survey of London
- Zhao Shizhen - Shenqipu
- Jakob Ayrer
- Von der Erbauung Roms ("The Building of Rome")
- Von der schönen Melusina ("Fair Melusina")
- Samuel Brandon - Virtuous Octavia
- Henry Chettle, Henry Porter and Ben Jonson - Hot Anger Soon Cold
- Robert Greene - The Scottish History of James IV published
- William Haughton - Englishmen for My Money
- Ben Jonson - Every Man in His Humour
- Anthony Munday - The Downfall of Robert Earl of Huntingdon
- Anthony Munday (and Henry Chettle?) - The Death of Robert Earl of Huntingdon
- Henry Porter - Love Prevented
- William Shakespeare - Henry IV, Part 1 and Love's Labor's Lost published
- Richard Barnfield - The Encomium of Lady Pecunia
- George Chapman - translation of Homer's Iliad into English
- Lope de Vega - La Arcadia and La Dragontea
- Christopher Marlowe - Hero and Leander (completed by Chapman following Marlowe's death)
- John Marston - The Metamorphosis of Pigmalian's Image and The Scourge of Villanie
- July 29 – Henricus Regius, Dutch philosopher and correspondent of René Descartes (died 1679)
- August 7 – Georg Stiernhielm, Swedish poet (died 1672)
- Unknown date – Johann George Moeresius, German poet (died 1657)
- January 9 – Jasper Heywood, English translator (born 1535)
- February 27 – Friedrich Dedekind, German theologian (born 1524)
- April 10 – Jacopo Mazzoni, Italian philosopher (born 1548)
- December 6 – Paolo Paruta, Venetian historian (born 1540)
- December 15 – Philips van Marnix, lord of Sint-Aldegonde, Dutch statesman and author (born 1540)
- December 31 – Heinrich Rantzau, German humanist writer (born 1526)
- Unknown date – David Powel, Welsh historian (born c. 1549)
- Henslowe's Diary.
- Stott, Andrew (2005). Comedy. London: Routledge. p. 44. ISBN 9780415299336.
- Williams, Hywel (2005). Cassell's Chronology of World History. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. pp. 233–238. ISBN 0-304-35730-8.
- Penguin Pocket On This Day. Penguin Reference Library. 2006. ISBN 0-14-102715-0.
- Palmer, Alan; Veronica (1992). The Chronology of British History. London: Century Ltd. pp. 163–165. ISBN 0-7126-5616-2.