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

Mike, thank you very much for your response! 

I am not sure if we should continue this discussion publicly, so in order not to 
bore everyone on the list to death perhaps we should switch to an email mode. 
Anyway, here are my further questions, and then we'll see: I guess, we'll 
disappear from public space if anybody objects...

So, it is my understanding that we are talking about, say, mid-1970s and both 
manuscripts in question (i.e. Tool and Sign/Symbol AND History of Development of 
Higher Mental/Psychological Functions, HDHPF) were typewritten (with some 
Luria's handwriting), the former in fairly decent English, the latter in 

Then, as far as I understand some parts of the HDHPF manuscript were translated 
by your editorial team and migrated into the Mind in Society book (in this case 
there were some other texts that Luria passed to you, i.e. those from Vygotsky's 
1935 book on learning and development); whereas the ms of Tool and Sign was put 
on hold until its publication in van der Veer and Valsiner's Vygotsky Reader in 
1994. Is this correct?

Then, it appears that it is unlikely that the Tool and Sign (Symbol) manuscript 
was the one that Vygotsky and Luria reportedly intended to send to Murchison in 
early 1930s. The manuscript did not look old enough, did it? 

Then, do you by chance have any idea where these priceless manuscripts are 
*now*? It might well appear that we have substantial evidence that shows that 
Vygotsky neither considered his (or even, possibly, *not his*?) History of 
Development of Higher Mental Functions an important/completed work, nor was ever 
going to publish it. Thus, it would be really great if we could trace the actual 
mss and have the opportunity to check out these documents.

The more I do this work the more it reminds me of a thrilling detective story 

(Thanks for warning, Mike: the historians beware:) ...).


PS Then, I guess I would be curious to know if you have any idea how come this 
guy Stephen Toulmin wrote his excellent 1978 review on 
Luria-the-Beethoven-of-psychology and also somebody else I don't quite remember 
-- what's his name again? :)-- that unfortunately nobody seems to have fully 
read to the very end. But perhaps let's focus on the manuscripts first, if you 
do not mind?

----- Original Message ----
From: mike Cole <lchcmike@gmail.com>
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
Cc: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
Sent: Thu, June 9, 2011 5:21:54 PM
Subject: 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 

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

Anton-- You have the dubious honor of being the first historian of Soviet 
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, 
> 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 
> page 3 of the original edition of 1934 does not mention that the text of 
> 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 
> 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 
> 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 
> this question to Mike Cole, who certainly knows a part of it. Thus, van der 
> 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 
> 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 
> 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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