1640 in literature
This article contains information about the literary events and publications of 1640.
- January 21 – Salmacida Spolia, a masque written by Sir William Davenant and designed by Inigo Jones, is performed at Whitehall Palace – the final royal masque of the Caroline era.
- March 17 (St. Patrick's Day) – Henry Burnell's play Landgartha is first performed, at the Werburgh Street Theatre in Dublin. It is one of the earliest from a native Irish playwright.
- c. April 16 – James Shirley returns to England from Ireland.
- May 4 – The theatre manager William Beeston is sent to the Marshalsea Prison for staging a play – perhaps Richard Brome's The Court Beggar or his The Queen and Concubine) – which offends the Stuart regime. This constitutes the only repression of the theatre to occur during the reign of King Charles I.
- May 28 – Pedro Calderón de la Barca joins the Catalan campaign led by the Duke of Olivares.
- English Cavalier poet Richard Lovelace, serving in the Bishops' Wars in Scotland, writes "To Lucasta, Going to the Warres" (published 1649) and the unperformed tragedy The Soldier (lost).
- The Bay Psalm Book, the first book printed in North America
- Uriel da Costa – Exemplar Humanae Vitae
- Diego de Saavedra Fajardo – Idea de un príncipe político cristiano (literally, "The Idea of a Christian Political Prince;" in English, The Royal Politician)
- Thomas Fuller – Joseph's Partly-coloured Coat
- James Howell – Dodona's Grove
- Cornelius Jansen – Augustinus
- Thomas Stephens – Arte da lingoa Canarim, a grammar of the Konkani language
- John Wilkins – A Discourse Concerning a New Planet
- Francisco de Rioja – Aristarco o censura de la proclamación católica de los catalanes
- Baltasar Gracián – El político Don Fernando el Católico
- Juan Eusebio Nieremberg – De la diferencia entre lo temporal y lo eterno. Crisol de desengaño
- Henry Burnell – Landgartha
- Pierre Corneille – Horace
- William Davenant – Salmacida Spolia
- John Fletcher & James Shirley – The Night Walker (published)
- Henry Glapthorne – The Hollander, Wit in a Constable, and The Ladies' Privilege (published)
- John Gough – The Strange Discovery
- William Habington – The Queen of Arragon
- Samuel Harding – Sicily and Naples
- Jean Mairet – L’Illustre corsaire
- Nathaniel Richards – Messalina (published)
- Joseph Rutter- The Cid, Part 2 (published)
- George Sandys – Christ's Passion (English translation of Hugo Grotius's Christus Patiens)
- Lewis Sharpe – The Noble Stranger published
- James Shirley – The Imposture performed; a single-volume collection of eight plays published; The Arcadia, The Humorous Courtier, and Saint Patrick for Ireland published; The Coronation published but misattributed to John Fletcher
- Francisco de Rojas Zorrilla – Los bandos de Verona
- Pedro Calderón de la Barca – Psiquis y Cupido
- Valentín de Céspedes – Las glorias del mejor siglo
- Lope de Vega – Parte XXIV de comedias
- Entremeses nuevos
- Fray Alonso Remón – Las tres mujeres en una
- Francisco de Rojas Zorrilla
- Donde hay agravios no hay celos
- No hay amigo para amigo
- Progne y Filomena
- April 2 – Marianna Alcoforado, Portuguese nun and purported letter-writer (died 1723)
- June 5 – Pu Songling (蒲松龄), Chinese writer (died 1715)
- August 8 – Amalia Catharina, German poet (died 1697)
- September 6 – Heinrich Brewer, German historian (died c. 1713)
- December 6 – Claude Fleury, French historian (died 1723)
- December 14 (baptized) – Aphra Behn (Eaffrey Johnson), English dramatist (died 1689)
- January 25 – Robert Burton, English scholar (born 1577)
- February/March – Richard Rowlands, English antiquary (born c. 1550)
- March 8 (burial) – Samuel Ward, English Puritan preacher and writer (born 1577)
- March 17 – Philip Massinger, English dramatist (born 1583)
- March 22 – Thomas Carew, English poet (born 1595)
- April – Uriel da Costa, Portuguese philosopher (born c. 1585)
- April 2 – Paul Fleming, German poet (born 1609)
- April 28 (burial) – William Alabaster, English poet and playwright (born 1567)
- May 30 – André Duchesne, French historian (born 1584)
- October 1 – Claudio Achillini, Italian philosopher and poet (born 1574)
- unknown dates
- probable – Elizabeth Melville, Scottish poet (born c. 1578)
- D.O. Hunter-Blair incorrectly describes the Arte as a grammar of the language spoken in Canara, a district on the Malabar coast; see "Thomas Stephen Buston". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913. The Catholic Encyclopedia has another article on Thomas Stephens, under "Thomas Stephens".
- "BBC - History - Aphra Behn". www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
- Elizabeth L. Ewan; Sue Innes; Sian Reynolds; Rose Pipes (27 June 2007). Biographical Dictionary of ScottishWomen. Edinburgh University Press. p. 262. ISBN 978-0-7486-2660-1.