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[Xmca-l] Re: blurb for Van der Veer's Lev Vygotsky

If we had a copy, it might even get reviewed in MCA!

On Thu, Mar 6, 2014 at 11:23 AM, Peter Smagorinsky <smago@uga.edu> wrote:

> I was asked to provide a blurb to promote Bloomsbury's paperback
> republication of Lev Vygotsky, which is Van der Veer's contribution to the
> Continuum Library of Educational Thought. For those interested, here's what
> I wrote:
> In this concise intellectual biography of L. S. Vygotsky, eminent
> Vygotskian authority René van der Veer provides an outstanding career
> overview for beginners and experts alike. For those seeking an introduction
> to Vygotsky, Van der Veer has written an accessible account of the major
> periods of Vygotsky's career. He reviews the development of Vygotsky
> thinking in plain and often witty language, a service of immeasurable
> importance given Vygotsky's notorious indifference to his readers'
> sensibilities. Experts as well will benefit from this refresher course and
> the inevitable new historical facts and insights available through Van der
> Veer's encyclopedic and ever-growing knowledge of Vygotsky's life and
> career. Van der Veer does an outstanding job of situating Vygotsky's youth
> and his adult work in a historical context that helps Vygotsky emerge as a
> man of his times and-as Vygotsky himself might appreciate-a scholar whose
> own intellectual development was a product of his innate brilliance in
> relation to the mediating context of his era. This development occurred
> historically during the region's transition between Tsarist Russia's
> collapse and Soviet society's first decade, during which Vygotsky undertook
> his brief, mercurial career. Of particular service is Van der Veer's
> attention to Vygotsky's early, foundational, and neglected work in literary
> criticism-his master's degree and doctoral theses focused on Shakespeare's
> Hamlet and Vygotsky's ensuing investigations into the psychology of
> art-defectology (the study of children whose physical and mental trauma
> during the overthrow of the Tsar and resulting internecine power struggle
> placed them on alternative developmental tracks), and educational
> psychology, an interest he pursued as a teacher educator at the outset of
> the Soviet era. These formative views, whose maturation Van der Veer
> documents in relation to the social, political, and intellectual
> environment of the time, served in turn to provide the basis for Vygotsky's
> more famous work of the late 1920s and early 1930s. Van der Veer reviews
> this later research with special attention to Vygotsky's
> cultural-historical psychology and its implications for such key constructs
> as the development of higher mental functions, the formulation of the zone
> of proximal development, and his role in cross-cultural education and
> social analysis. This volume is straightforward and edifying enough for
> undergraduates, and stimulating and informative enough for those who, like
> me, have been immersed in Vygotskian scholarship for many decades.
Status: O