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Re: [xmca] Vygotsky in English: What Still Needs to Be Done

The ms of Sign and Tool was given to me along with History of Dev of Higher Psych functions
by Luria. T&S was typed and pretty good English-- Luria handwriting in a couple of places. HDHPF was in Russian. The text was in Russian. It was translated by a Russian who knows
English well and psychology only a little.... from which well rehearsed problems have

There is a rumor that Nick Goldberg and Peetr Tulviste were involved in the translation,
not sure which one.

Anton-- You have the dubious honor of being the first historian of Soviet psychology
who has asked me a question about that history. Of course, I was just an 
American learning theorist whose Russian was elementary and understanding hopelessly befuddled, as any Russian psychologist could confirm! And I temporarily have the odd property of being alive, so I might lie if someone asked me about these and related issues!!

Historians beware!!

On Jun 8, 2011, at 3:05 PM, Anton Yasnitsky <the_yasya@yahoo.com> wrote:

> Thank you, David, for your high opinion of our work! As an announcement, I am 
> reporting that I have just submitted the corrected proofs of yet another paper 
> from this Vygotskian issue of the journal, -- the one on the Vygotsky Circle, so 
> it might get released online fairly soon. Now, to your questions.
> 1. I have seen many Vygotsky's texts--including those that have never been 
> republished after the war--but not this one. Therefore, I can not verify if 
> Vygotsky's review (1929) of the Sterns' book is identical (or, perhaps, more 
> precisely, *nearly* identical) with Chapter 3 of Thinking and speech (1934).  
> However, I fully trust Rene van der Veer, whom I consider a top expert on the 
> history of Vygotskian psychology and whose name is to me synonymous with the 
> highest quality of scholarship. Thus, in brief, if Rene claims the two papers 
> are just the same, I have no reasons to doubt his words; after all, this what 
> collaboration is all about.
> Then, you are asking for an explanation of how come the author in his Preface on 
> page 3 of the original edition of 1934 does not mention that the text of chapter 
> 3 had already been published as a book review, although he does admit that two 
> other chapters, i.e. chapters 2 and 4, had been published before. I could try to 
> provide a plausible explanation why this is so. Vygotsky reportedly dictated 
> some fragments of the text (chapter 1 and parts of  6 and 7) ,  and, in all 
> likelihood, the book has never been proofread by its author: as we know, not 
> only did it come out, but also it was typeset and signed out to press   well 
> after his death (Russian: "sdano v nabor" -- August, 27, 1934, "podpisano k 
> pechati" -- December 7, 1934). I could image that the references to chapters in 
> brackets were later incorporated into the text by the editor of the book, 
> Kolbanovskii, who was not really familiar with the circumstances of the 
> manuscript production. This might explain the lack of reference to chapter 3 as 
> previously published. However, please understand that this explanation is a mere 
> ungrounded speculation of mine. Let's say, a hypothesis...
> 2. The question about Tool and sign is really an interesting one, and we don't 
> know the full story yet. Perhaps, we will never know it. Thus, I would readdress 
> this question to Mike Cole, who certainly knows a part of it. Thus, van der Veer 
> and Valsiner published an English manuscript of the paper in their Vygotsky 
> Reader in 1994. In their comments they claim that this was *the* manuscript that 
> Luria passed to Mike for publication in the West. Then, in turn, Mike seems to 
> have passed the manuscript to the two editors of the Reader who did a great job 
> of publishing and -- even more importantly -- most professionally commenting on 
> the text. Still, much is unclear, for instance: what kind of manuscript that 
> was, if it was handwritten (I would doubt that) or typewritten (I believe so), 
> when and under what circumstances Luria forwarded it to Mike, etc. Then, the 
> Russian text of the 1984 edition might well be a[n edited] translation from 
> English or an version of the paper. I guess, some research--both 
> historiographical and textological--needs to be done in order to answer your 
> question. Anyway, thanks for raising this issue: I have always wanted to ask 
> Mike for a feedback from him, so... Mike, do you have any comments, please?
> 3. As to Vygotsky trip, I think that the Bolshevik leadership knew fairly well 
> what they were doing. Especially, when the matter concerned funding a foreign 
> trip for an individual for a month or so. Funding was really scarce back then, 
> and they must have had really good reasons for sending this guy abroad. So, 
> since we do not have any evidence in support of this hypothesis, I would not 
> speculate about his possible connections with Russian intelligence or any other 
> related organization that might explain his seemingly purposeless stay in 
> England way after the conference was over. Then, however, the point is that 
> Vygotsky had several advantages over other persons you (and the authors) 
> mentioned: he was young and loyal to the ideas of Socialist transformation of 
> man and society, very proactive, not blind or peripherally located (like blind 
> scholar Shcherbina from provincial town of Priluki), and, perhaps, also 
> importantly, had a good rationale for returning home: a newly married young 
> specialist with a newborn baby (May 9, 1925) staying home did have good 
> incentives not to stay abroad. Yet again, note: this is pure speculation again. 
> Frankly, the name of Golosov does not tell me much, but speaking of 
> Sokolyanskii, one must keep it mind that, according to Hillig and Marochko 
> (2003; the source is available, but it is in Ukrainian) he did make a foreign 
> trip in the August of 1925, and was even the head of Russian delegation in 
> Germany during "Russian weeks" in Berlin. I believe at least a part of the story 
> of Sokolyanskii's foreign trip is certainly true, but in any case this account 
> still needs to be verified. In other words: nope, the Bolsheviks did not send 
> their people abroad just in order to let them practice their language skills: 
> too costly it was for the extremely poor country that had just emerged from the 
> Civil War. As it is argued in a recent publication, Vygotsky was quite a 
> prominent "defectologist" of his country back in 1925 and was the right guy for 
> the job (for more see: Yasnitsky, A. (2011). Lev Vygotsky: Philologist and 
> Defectologist, A Socio-intellectual Biography. In Pickren, W., Dewsbury, D., & 
> Wertheimer, M. (Eds.). Portraits of Pioneers in Developmental Psychology, vol. 
> VII; just wait till September, 2011 when the book is reportedly scheduled to 
> come out).
> Cheers,
> Anton
> ----- Original Message ----
> From: David Kellogg <vaughndogblack@yahoo.com>
> To: lchcmike@gmail.com; Culture ActivityeXtended Mind <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
> Sent: Tue, June 7, 2011 7:54:05 PM
> Subject: Re: [xmca] Vygotsky in English: What Still Needs to Be Done
> Anton et al:
> First of all, thanks for what in my view is really PRICELESS work. The Plenum 
> edition of Thinking and Speech has been out since 1987. Rene van der Veer has 
> been suggesting that it is inadequate, and Luciano Meccaci has been promising 
> full documentation of the inadequacies, but I think this is the first clear 
> indication in print that we desperately need a new translation of this book, so 
> that we miserable Anglophones may at long last learn that we don't know what 
> we've been talking about.
> Secondly--THREE questions:
> a) You say that Chapter Three of Thinking and Speech was written in 1929, and 
> you provide a very convincing reference to prove this. But the Authors Preface 
> to Thinking and Speech does not include Chapter Three in the list of previously 
> published works, and by implication says that it is being published for the 
> first time. Can you explain?
> b) There are two slightly different versions of "Tool and Sign in the 
> Development of the Child", one in English and one in Russian. Do you happen to 
> know which was written first (and when?)
> c) Rene van der Veer and Ekaterina Zavershneva wonder why the unknown Vygotsky 
> (rather than the better known Golosov or Sokolyansky or Sherbina) was sent to 
> the London conference. But it appears that a LOT of people at the conference 
> were not experts (e.g. Lord Whatzisface and the poor Japanese delegate). In 
> China we used to send people abroad for the language proficiency rather than 
> their technical expertise; mightn't the same thing have happened here?
> Thanks again, Anton--you are a supernatural resource!
> David Kellogg
> Seoul National University of Education
> --- On Mon, 6/6/11, mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com> wrote:
> From: mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com>
> Subject: Re: [xmca] Vygotsky in English: What Still Needs to Be Done
> To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
> Date: Monday, June 6, 2011, 7:52 AM
> Thanks, Anton.
> Mythbusters super star!
> mike
> On Mon, Jun 6, 2011 at 5:32 AM, Anton Yasnitsky <the_yasya@yahoo.com> wrote:
>> Hi everyone!
>> For your information:   most recently several papers from the special
>> Vygotskian
>> issue of the journal Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science have
>> been
>> released and are now fully available online (as html and pdf). These
>> include:
>> In Search of the Unknown: Introduction to the Special Issue
>> René van der Veer
>> http://www.springerlink.com/content/h438g3337j5520l7/
>> Vygotsky in English: What Still Needs to Be Done
>> René van der Veer and Anton Yasnitsky
>> http://www.springerlink.com/content/278j5025767m2263/
>> &
>> To Moscow with Love: Partial Reconstruction of Vygotsky’s Trip to London
>> René van der Veer and Ekaterina Zavershneva
>> http://www.springerlink.com/content/375141xv6284506g/
>> At a later time, there will be another paper, on Vygotsky Circle of several
>> dozen Vygotsky's students and associates that will hopefully finally
>> overturn
>> the myth of the "troika da pyaterka" of his Apostles that keeps replicating
>> in
>> numerous accounts of Vygotsky's life story. I shall keep you posted...
>> Have a nice reading!
>> Cheers,
>> Anton
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