De Jonghe's Phalli....

Moselio Schaechter mschaech at sunstroke.sdsu.edu
Thu Nov 16 02:39:30 EST 2000


Dear mycologists and mycophiles,

Here is a voice from the early days of Mycology.

I have had the good fortune of obtaining a copy of the very first work
published on a specific fungus, namely De Jonghe's "Phalli..." from 1564.It
is written in the florid and nearly impenetrable Latin of the Renaissance
scientists. Fortunately, it was translated into Dutch in 1906. I have also
been fortunate in getting help from Tom and Pam Kayser who generously
rendered into English the Dutch translation and an introductory  article
that accompanied it.   I am very grateful to them for this effort.
I also wrote a short annotation.

I tried to attach the file to this message, but it didn't work.  So, should
you want this file, please email me.  Just write De Jonghe in the subject
line.

I found interesting, once burrowing through the thicket of the ornate
language, that the description of the fungus is generally accurate but not
particularly orderly.   De Jonghe was one of the early field scientists and
had little to go by in the way of antecedents.

Please note that De Jonghe's work is a translation from a translation.  I
would be happy to hear of someone willing to check the original Latin.

Also, should someone be interested in helping me post this material on the
web.  I don't quite know how this is done.   I could provide a scan of the
original and its rather vivid woodcuts.  They are quite remarkable in their
accuracy and contribute a great deal to help us understand what De Jonghe
observed.   They have been reproduced on p. 41 of Ainsworth's "Introduction
to the History of Mycology", should you have access to it.  Please let me
know.

I would appreciate any comments on this little project, mycological or
otherwise.

Elio Schaechter
Author, "In the Company of Mushrooms"
Harvard University Press
http://www.bio.sdsu.edu/faculty/schaechter.htm







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