1601 in literature
This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1601.
- January 6 – The Children of the Chapel give their first theatrical performance at the English Court since 1584. This year they stage the first production of Ben Jonson's The Poetaster.
- January 21 – Tirso de Molina enters the monastery of San Antolín at Guadalajara, Spain.
- February 7 – The Lord Chamberlain's Men stage a performance of Shakespeare's Richard II at the Globe Theatre in London. The performance is specially commissioned (at a 40-shilling bonus) by the plotters in the Earl of Essex's rebellion of the following day. The plotters hope that the play, depicting the overthrow of a reigning monarch, will influence the public mood in their favour. The plot fails.
- February 17 – Actor Augustine Phillips, a member of the Lord Chamberlain's Men, is deposed by the Privy Council of England.
- July – Lancelot Andrewes becomes Dean of Westminster.
- Thomas Overbury meets Robert Carr, 1st Earl of Somerset, and they become firm friends.
- Tommaso Campanella, imprisoned in Italy for revolutionary plotting, is judged insane and spared the death penalty. He is sentenced to life imprisonment, and begins to write The City of the Sun.
- Philemon Holland publishes his translation of the Natural History of Pliny the Elder. When he composes Othello in the next year of so, Shakespeare exploits the book for references, including the "Anthropophagi" and the "Pontic Sea."
- Probable latest year for first performance of Shakespeare's Hamlet. The play is presented by the Lord Chamberlain's Men at the Globe Theatre in London with Richard Burbage playing Prince Hamlet and (according to theatrical tradition) the dramatist playing the Ghost.
- January 11 – Scipione Ammirato, Italian historian (born 1531)
- March 13 – Henry Cuffe, English philosophical writer and politician (executed, born 1563)
- April 10 – Mark Alexander Boyd, Scottish poet (born 1562)
- August 19 – William Lambarde, English antiquary and lawyer (born 1536)
- August 31 – Gian Vincenzo Pinelli, Italian humanist and book collector (born 1535)
- September 7 – John Shakespeare, English glover and father of William Shakespeare (born c. 1530)
- November 8 – John Hooker, English constitutionalist (born c. 1527)
- Approximate year of death – Thomas Nashe, English pamphleteer, poet and satirist (born 1567)
- ↑ Edwards, Phillip, ed. (1985). Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. New Cambridge Shakespeare. Cambridge University Press. p. 8. ISBN 0-521-29366-9.
Any dating of Hamlet must be tentative. Scholars date its writing as between 1599 and 1601.