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The year 1605 in literature involved some significant events.
- January 1 – The Queen's Revels Children perform George Chapman's All Fools at the court of King James I of England.
- January 6 – First performance of The Masque of Blackness at the Banqueting Hall, Whitehall Palace. The cast includes Penelope Rich and Lady Mary Wroth.
- January 7 – The King's Men perform Shakespeare's Henry V at court.
- January 8 – Ben Jonson's Every Man Out of His Humour is performed at court by the King's Men.
- January (between the 9th and 14th) – King's Men perform Love's Labor's Lost before Queen Anne.
- January 16 – The first part of Miguel de Cervantes' satire on the theme of chivalry, Don Quixote (El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha, "The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote of La Mancha"), written in Castilian dialects of Old Spanish and printed by Juan de la Cuesta in 1604, is published by publisher-bookseller Francisco de Robles in Madrid; most copies of the first edition are shipped to Spanish America. One of the first significant novels in the western literary tradition, it becomes a global bestseller almost at once and new editions, both authorized and pirated, are produced across the Iberian Peninsula by the end of the year.
- February 2 – The King's Men give a repeat performance of Ben Jonson's Every Man in His Humour at court.
- February 10 and February 12 – Performances of The Merchant of Venice are given at court.
- May 30 – John Spottiswoode becomes a member of the Scottish privy council.
- August 27–August 30 – King James I, Queen Anne, and their son Prince Henry visit the University of Oxford. Gentlemen from St John's and Christ Church colleges entertain the royals with a series of plays. The big hit of the visit is Samuel Daniel's The Queen's Arcadia. Matthew Gwinne's Latin play Vertumnus puts James to sleep.
- October – First publication of Relation aller Fürnemmen und gedenckwürdigen Historien by Johann Carolus in Strasbourg (Holy Roman Empire), generally regarded as the world's first newspaper. De Nieuwe Tijdinghen, a Dutch proto-newspaper, is perhaps also published this year.
- Richard Rowlands publishes A Restitution of Decayed Intelligence in Antiquities concerning the most noble and renowned English Nation in Antwerp including the first English language account of the legend of the Pied Piper of Hamelin.
- Johannes Huser of Waldkirch publishes a collected edition of Paracelsus's works.
- Luis de Góngora is ordained as a priest.
- The Rose theatre in London is abandoned after its lease runs out.