THE study of fungi has both gained and suffered from the fact that many of its advances have arrived incidentally from the separate aspects of the study of plant pathology and cytology and these characteristics are reflected in its modern literature. Formerly some scholarly books attempted to range over the whole subject, but partly owing to its growth and complexity, this now seems impossible. Amongst the best modern textbooks are E. A. Gaumann and C. W. Dodge’s Comparative Morphology of Fungi, 1928, and H. C. I. Gwynne-Vaughan and B. Barnes’s Structure and Development of Fungi.
The first is really an American version of a German book, but it departs from the original text and as it contains a considerable number of technical terms it is recommended only for the more advanced reader. The book by Gwynne-Vaughan and Barnes is more easily followed by English readers, but alone it might give the false impression that mycology is a series of evolutionary essays brightened by cytological anecdotes, and it is marred by the fact that a large group of fungi, the Fungi Imperfecii, full of economic potentialities, are barely mentioned. A slim volume by J. Ramsbottom entitled simply Fungi should be read at the same time as one of these, as it will bring back the breath of life and serve to show the interest of this group of organisms to the great world and to the small man, for the writer has achieved a philosophical approach in the manner of the older authors.
For more detailed information special books must be consulted. Of these Penicillia by J. Thorn, Yeasts, a translation from the French by F. W. Tanner, The Lower Fungi by H. M. Fitzpatrick, and Plant Rusts by J. C. Arthur are typical. A work that must be mentioned is R. Buller’s Researches on Fungi, now extended to six volumes, and those who have the courage and patience to cope with it will undoubtedly profit, as there is much information of general interest in it that is available otherwise only in scattered papers. The most recent edition of Muir and Ritchie’s Manual of Bacteriology is a readable version of the development of modern bacteriology.