– The most famous Russian psychologist, whose life and ideas are least known?
– A pioneer of psychology who said virtually nothing new?
– A simple man who became a genius after he died?
This fundamentally novel intellectual biography offers a 21st-century account of the life and times of Lev Vygotsky, who has long been considered a pioneer in the field of learning and human development. The diverse Vygotskian literature has created many distinct images of this influential scientist, which has led many researchers to attempt to unearth ‘the real Vygotsky’. Rather than join this quest to over-simplify Vygotsky’s legacy, this book attempts to understand the development of ‘the multiple Vygotskies’ by exploring a number of personae that Vygotsky assumed at different periods of his life. Based on the most recent archival, textological and historical investigations in original, uncensored Russian, the author presents a ground-breaking account that is far from the shiny success story that is typically associated with ‘the cult of Vygotsky’.
This book will be an essential contribution to Vygotskian scholarship and of interest to advanced students and researchers in history of psychology, history of science, Soviet/Russian history, philosophical psychology, and philosophy of science.
Table of Contents
The Gomel Years (1896-1913)
A Jew Admitted to Imperial Moscow University
Literary Criticism (1914-1916)
Beba Vygodskii: The "Young Jewish Prophet"
The Russian Revolution (1917-1918)
Lev Vygodskii during the Russian Revolution
The Great War (1914-1918) and its Aftermath
In Ukrainian Gomel in 1918
Gomel during Russian Civil War
The "Cultural Front," Marxism, and the "New Man"
Lev Vygotsky in Gomel in 1919-1921
New Economic Policy (NEP) and the Birth of the Soviet Union
Vygotsky as a Publisher, Political Activist, and Theatrical Critic (1922-3)
Vygotsky Teaches and Lectures
Vygotsky’s Entrance into Psychology
The Teaching about Reflexes: Pavlov’s and Bekhterev’s Research Methods
Vygotsky’s New Method: "Double Stimulation"
Vygotsky and Reflexology
Second Psychoneurological Congress as a Landmark
Alexander Luria: Vygotsky’s Alter Ego
Vygotsky’s Comeback in Moscow
Marxist Practicality and the "New Science"
The Variety of "New Psychologies"
The Trip to London and its Aftermath
Vygotsky’s Three Books
Psychology as a Science about the Superman
Vygotsky—Luria Circle: People and Institutes
Unexpected Discoveries: Word Meaning, Dialogue, and Inner Speech
The Outcomes of the Decade of 1920s
Stalin’s Great Break and Cultural Revolution
Vygotsky’s Life and Career at the Turn of the Decades
IX International Psychological Congress and its Impact
Towards a New Psychological Theory
The Demise of "Reactology"
Vygotsky Criticizes... Vygotsky
Expeditions to Central Asia of 1931 and 1932
The Challenge of the Totality: Holistic Gestalt Psychology
Kurt Lewin’s "Galileian" Psychology
The Vygotsky-Luria Circle in 1930s
Major Theoretical Reconstruction and New Experimentation
"The Threshold of a New Theory": The Pessimistic Finale
Timeline of landmark events
Conventions and acknowledgements
Anton Yasnitsky, Ph.D., is an independent researcher who specializes in the Vygotsky–Luria Circle. He has coedited (with René van der Veer et al.) The Cambridge Handbook of Cultural-Historical Psychology (2014), Revisionist Revolution in Vygotsky Studies (2015), and Vygotski revisitado: una historia crítica de su contexto y legado (2016).
"This is the first thorough coverage of the life and work of this Russian-Jewish scholar since my work with René van der Veer over twenty-five years ago (Understanding Vygotsky, 1991). Vygotsky’s psychological theories, based on his deep feelings on theatre and literature, continue to fascinate scholars worldwide. Yasnitsky has clearly emerged as the new world leader in doing careful analytic work on Vygotsky’s heritage." - Jaan Valsiner, Aalborg University, Denmark