1816 in literature
This article presents lists of the literary events and publications of 1816.
- April – Lord Byron leaves England for good to tour continental Europe.
- April 14 – Lord Byron's poems "A Sketch from Private Life" and "Fare Thee Well", concerning his separation from his wife Anne Isabella, are published without authority in The Champion.
- May – Lady Caroline Lamb's novel Glenarvon is published in London, a roman à clef containing an unflattering portrait of her ex-lover Lord Byron in the rakish title character of Lord Ruthven.
- July – Lord Byron, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, Percy Bysshe Shelley and John Polidori, gathered at the Villa Diodati by Lake Geneva in a rainy Switzerland in this 'Year Without a Summer', tell each other tales. This gives rise to two classic Gothic narratives, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Polidori's The Vampyre (based on Byron's "Fragment of a Novel"). Byron also writes the poem Darkness. In late August Shelley and Godwin return to England, taking with them some of Byron's manuscripts for his publisher.
- September 16
- Lord Byron's Monody on the Death of the Right Honourable R. B. Sheridan, written at the request of Douglas Kinnaird, is spoken at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London by Mrs. Maria Davison.
- Actor William Macready makes his London debut, at Covent Garden as Orestes in The Distressed Mother, a translation of Racine's Andromaque by Ambrose Philips.
- November 25 – The Chestnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia (United States) becomes the world's first to be illuminated by gas lighting.
- December – John Keats composes the poem "Sleep and Poetry" while staying at the Hampstead house of his friend Leigh Hunt, who introduces him to Shelley.
- December 5 – Lord Byron's The Prisoner of Chillon, and Other Poems is published in London; John Murray, his publisher, is able to sell 7,000 copies of both this and Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Canto III (published November 18) to booksellers at a dinner this month.
- December 30 – Percy Bysshe Shelley marries his mistress Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin in London following the suicides on October 9 of her half-sister, Fanny Imlay (by laudanum in Swansea), and on December 10 of his pregnant estranged first wife, Harriet (by drowning in The Serpentine).
- Publication in Mexico of José Joaquín Fernández de Lizardi's comic picaresque novel The Mangy Parrot: The Life and Times of Periquillo Sarniento written by himself for his children (El Periquillo Sarniento) in installments, generally considered the first novel written and published in Latin America, though due to government censorship the concluding chapters are not published until the 1830s.
- Shakespeare's tragedy Hamlet is for the first time performed at the castle of Kronborg in Helsingør (Elsinore, Denmark) where it is set.
- Thomas Ashe – The Soldier of Fortune
- Sarah Burney – Tales of Fancy: The Shipwreck
- Benjamin Constant – Adolphe
- Selina Davenport – The Original of the Miniature
- Stéphanie Félicité, Comtesse de Genlis – Jane of France
- Jane Harvey – Brougham Castle
- Ann Hatton – Chronicles of an Illustrious House
- Barbara Hofland – The Maid of Moscow
- Leigh Hunt – The Story of Rimini
- Frances Margaretta Jacson (wrongly ascribed to Mary Brunton) – Rhoda
- Henry Gally Knight – Ilderim, a Syrian Tale
- Caroline Lamb – Glenarvon
- Alicia Le Fanu – Strathallan
- José Joaquín Fernández de Lizardi – The Mangy Parrot
- Emma Parker – Self-deception
- David William Paynter – Godfrey Ranger
- Walter Scott
- François Guillaume Ducray-Duminil – Jean et Jeannette, ou les Petits aventuriers parisiens (Jean and Jeanette, or Two Little Adventurers in Paris)
- E. T. A. Hoffmann – Nussknacker und Mausekönig (The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, basis of ballet The Nutcracker)
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge – Zapolya
- Bernhard Severin Ingemann – Reinald Underbarnet (The Miraculous Child Reinald)
- Charles Maturin – Bertram; or The Castle of St. Aldobrand
- Lord Byron
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge – "Christabel"; "Kubla Khan: A Vision" [written 1797]; "The Pains of Sleep"
- John Keats – "On First Looking into Chapman's Homer"
- Percy Bysshe Shelley
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge – The Statesman's Manual; or, The Bible the best guide to political skill and foresight: a lay sermon
- John Hoyland – A Historical Survey of the Customs, Habits, and Present State of the Gypsies
- Nikolay Karamzin – History of the Russian State (История государства Российского, Istoriya gosudarstva Rossiyskogo; publication begins)
- George Sinclair – Hortus gramineus Woburnensis
- February 18 – Ferdinand Dugué, French poet and playwright (died 1913)
- March 1 – Kawatake Mokuami (河竹黙阿弥), Japanese kabuki dramatist (died 1893)
- April 1 – Peter Cunningham, British literary scholar and antiquarian (died 1869)
- April 21 – Charlotte Brontë, English novelist and poet (died 1855)
- June 2 – Grace Aguilar, English novelist (died 1847)
- September 16 – Theodore Martin, Scottish poet, biographer and translator (died 1909)
- September 20 – Fredrik August Dahlgren, Swedish dramatist and songwriter (died 1895)
- November 1 – Friedrich Wilhelm Hackländer, German novelist, dramatist and travel writer (died 1877)
- November 28 – Theodosia Trollope (Theodosia Garrow), English poet and translator (died 1865)
- February 22 – Adam Ferguson, Scottish philosopher (born 1723)
- March 3 – Johann August von Starck, German writer and theologian (born 1741
- April 28 – Johann Heinrich Abicht, German philosopher (born 1762)
- July 7 – Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Irish playwright and politician (born 1751)
- July 23 – Elizabeth Hamilton, Irish-born Scottish essayist, poet and novelist (born c. 1756)
- September 9 – Eliza Fay, English letter-writer and traveler (born 1755 or 1756)
- October 27 – Santō Kyōden (real name Iwase Samuru), Japanese fiction writer, poet and artist (born 1761)
- Douglass, Malcolm Paul (2004-10-19). "Caroline Lamb: Glenarvon". The Literary Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2014-02-12.
- Cox, Michael, ed. (2004). The Concise Oxford Chronology of English Literature. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-860634-6.
- Wilson, Edwin; Goldfarb, Alvin (2008). Living Theatre: History of the Theatre (5th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill. p. 362.
- Spell, Jefferson Rea (1971). Bridging the Gap. Mexico City: Editorial Libros de México. p. 267.
- Franco, Jean (1969). An Introduction to Spanish-American Literature. Cambridge University Press. p. 34.
- Anemüller, Bernhard (1875). "Abicht, Johann Heinrich". In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie. Band 1. Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot. S. 21 (German).