Timber, or Discoveries, is a posthumous work of 1640 by Ben Jonson. It is a loose volume of literary reflections and observations, and is notable for containing one of the few contemporary accounts of Shakespeare, including the famous words: ‘I loved the man, and do honour his memory on this side idolatry as much as any.’ 'Timber' is a pun, one that Jonson worked almost to death in the rest of his literary output. The Latin for ‘wood’ or ‘forest’ is silva, and silva can also mean ‘a collection’ (as in the Silvae of the Roman poet Statius). 'Timber' thus signifies a collection of useful, consumable offerings. Other works of Jonson that played on the same idea were The Forest (1616) and The Underwood (1640).
Dryden and Cowley, amongst others, also wrote Silvae, but the genre has no real modern equivalent. Is the art of disconnected literary ramblings dying out?
The Cambridge Companion to Ben Jonson, ed. Richard Harp and Stanley Stewart (2000)
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