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Re: [xmca] Vygotsky and Gordon Craig's Hamlet
- To: "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>, "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Subject: Re: [xmca] Vygotsky and Gordon Craig's Hamlet
- From: Anton Yasnitsky <email@example.com>
- Date: Fri, 1 Feb 2013 09:53:27 -0800 (PST)
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Good question, Mike, but in order to answer it, I guess, a serious research would need to be done,
besides, it is hardly a topic for a brief note, but rather a fundamental scholarly paper. Thus, I would
comment on only some issues.
A comment on Yaroshevskii.He might have been quite efficient in propagating the "oppressed science" for roughly half century--
from his earlier 1952 paper on "Cyberntics is the science of obscurantists" (Kibernetika - nauka mrakobesov)
until his later exercises in censoring and distorting Vygotsky in 1970s-1980s and, finally and somewhat ironically,
actually introducing the ludicrous phrase the "oppressed science" (repressirovannaia nauka) in 1990s.
Given the extent of his familiarity with Vygotsky, his actual writings and ideas, and the distorted image of Vygotsky
that has emerged in large part due to his editorial work of the six-volume collected works of Vygotskii, --
I believe, the validity of his scholarly research and writing on Vygotsky is considerably undermined.
As to intellectual landscape of contemporary Russia, I would characterize is as 'void'. How else could I characterize it
given that one of the dominant theoretical streams in the country these days is "Russian Orthodox", "Christian psychology"
(e.g., http://dusha-orthodox.ru/) that is harboured even under the auspices of
Department of General Psychology of Moscow State University (Lomonosov)?
For nice self-explanatory pics from the Faculty of Psy at MSU see http://psychosoft.ru/2010-11-22/index.htm or
http://psychosoft.ru/2011-02-07/ . For instance this picture -- http://psychosoft.ru/2011-01-26/_DSC4724.jpg -- features
the Dean of the Faculty of Psychology someone Yurii Zinchenko (standing, no relation with either Vladimir or Piotr Zinchenko
whatsoever), the Head of the Department of General Psychology B. Bratus' (sitting civilian, beside, a former student
of Zeigarnik, believe it or not) and a representative of Russian Orthodox Church, in presidium. What a "troika", indeed! :)
Bratus' speaking in a somewhat different setting, here: http://damian.ru/news/2011-01-06/DSC_A053.jpg
Curious transformation of the formerly allegedly Marxist/progressivist/futurist/activist scholarship, right?
As to Vygotksiana in Russia, in my humble opinion, nobody cares about actual scholarship of the kind despite the fact that
Vygotsky remains the most quoted Russian psychologist in contemporary Russia and abroad. A couple of guys are doing
really nice job, for instance, Zavershneva, whose works were featured in already two special issues of the
Journal of Russian and East European Psychology, in 2010 and 2012. Some bits and pieces, here and there, but that's basically it.
On Zavershneva, overview of her research, bibliography of published works and the links to some of these works see
There is also RGGU headed by the heirs and descendants of Vygotsky who disseminate the propagandist "Vygotsky cult"--
incredibly shallow and uncritical--that has virtually nothing to do with scholarship. For a nice discussion of the phenomenon,
in Russian, see http://exxistencia.livejournal.com/1101.html and http://psyhistorik.livejournal.com/88483.html
From: mike cole <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Anton Yasnitsky <email@example.com>; "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Friday, February 1, 2013 11:54:06 AM
Subject: Re: [xmca] Vygotsky and Gordon Craig's Hamlet
I was interested in your statement that "Yaroshevskii is totally irrelevant as long as Vygotsky and his legacy are concerned."
I aware that there are various groups and individuals who claim to have relevant things to say about Vygotsky and his legacy. I was not aware that there a way to figure out who the "ones that count" are.
How do you see this intellectual landscape of contemporary Russians who take an interest in Vygotsky
and his legacy? What is at issue and what are the stakes?
On Fri, Feb 1, 2013 at 6:49 AM, Anton Yasnitsky <email@example.com> wrote:
>1. The fact that Vygotsky moved to Moscow and started his unfinished (i.e. dropout) studies in Moscow University
>does not prove anything other than he started his studies in that very year. Thus, there is at least a theoretical possibility
>that he, some 15-16 years old, traveled to Moscow in order to see the show. Well, not likely, but not improbable either.
>2. Another--purely speculative--option is that someone Vygotsky (Vygodskii back then) knew had attended the performance and
>shared his or her first-hand experience. I could think about David Vygodskii, his cousin, a prominent translator and literary critic,
>from Gomel' too and several years older, who might be the person. In other words, who cares if he actually saw the show or not,
>given the diversity and richness of sources of information about this fashionable theatrical production then and there? ;)
>3. Vygodskaia & Lifanova's story certainly gives wrong chronology (i.e., definitely not 1916!),
>is messy and does not make much sense, indeed.
>5. As some of you might know, a nice discussion of the topic of the interrelations between Vygotsky, Gordon Craig's MKhT production,
>and phenomenological aesthetics can be found in a recent paper by Priscila Nascimento Marques in the leading Vygotskian journal
>PsyAnima [ http://www.psyanima.ru/ ] and is currently freely available on the journal's web-site in Portuguese, and, somewhat shorter
>versions, in English and Russian. See here: http://www.psyanima.ru/journal/2012/3/index.php
> From: Martin Packer <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <email@example.com>
>Sent: Thursday, January 31, 2013 3:48:03 PM
>Subject: Re: [xmca] Vygotsky and Gordon Craig's Hamlet
>I have this, though it doesn't seem to make sense, from:
>Vygodskaia, G. I., & Lifanoya, T. M. (1999). Lev Semonovich Vygotsky. Journal of Russian and East European Psychology, 37(3), Whole number.
>"Lev Semen6vich developed an interest in the theater early, back in his high-school years; he would try never to miss a play by a local group or a visiting theater group. In Moscow the student art group became his favorite theater, and he would visit it often with pleasure. In fact, such plays as Malen 'kie tragedii, Brat 'ia Karamazovy, Nikolai Stavrogin were events in Moscow's theater life. Hamlet was staged by Gordon Craig, the English director, in this theater in 1916, when Lev Semenovich was still a university student. The staging was original: there was no set: the play was performed on a bare stage. This made it possible to concentrate the spectators' attention on the actors and their performance. The role of Hamlet was played by v.I. Kachelov. This play was, of course, espe- cially interesting to Lev Semenovich." (p. 34)
>On Jan 31, 2013, at 3:15 PM, Bella Kotik-Friedgut <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
>> Vygotsky came to Moscow in 1913
>> On Thu, Jan 31, 2013 at 6:09 AM, kellogg <email@example.com> wrote:
>>> Does anyone happen to know whether Vygotsky personally saw the Gordon
>>> Craig version of Hamlet in Moscow in 1912? He would have been sixteen, I
>>> guess, and it was about the time he was starting to write about Hamlet.
>>> I'm reading a book which attempts to reconstruct the Gordon Craig version
>>> of Hamlet (directed by Stanislavsky). It has the interesting that the
>>> production was greater than the sum of its antithetical parts. Craig saw
>>> the play in intensely psychological terms (Craig believed that only Hamlet
>>> was a real person, and everybody else in the play has the same status as
>>> the ghost). Stanislavsky, on the other hand, saw it in equally intense
>>> sociological terms (Stanislavsky believed that it should be historically
>>> accurate, and that is why he insisted on a medieval rather than a
>>> Renaissance setting).
>>> And so of course it occurs to me that Chapter Eight of Psychology of Art
>>> is an attempt to square the circle. But on p. 172 he speaks disapprovingly
>>> of the 1924 revival of the Gordon Craig version by Michael Chekhov, because
>>> it transforms Hamlet into an action hero, puts Claudius in the role of
>>> nemesis, and confers extraordinary depth of character on Hamlet.
>>> Kozulin seems to think that Vygotsky really sided with Craig against
>>> Stanislavsky, that is, he saw the work as a mystery play and not a bit of
>>> realism. I am not so sure: The way I read Vygotsky, he really turns Craig
>>> upside down: Hamlet is the ONLY person in the play who has no real
>>> character at all.
>>> I also think that reading Hamlet as a myth or a mystery play makes it
>>> quite impossible to achieve what Vygostky is really trying to get out of
>>> the play: a little model of the mind as a sociological backstage and
>>> a psychological proscenium, with the great midstage occupied by various
>>> forms of speech.
>>> David Kellogg
>>> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
>>> xmca mailing list
>> Sincerely yours Bella Kotik-Friedgut
>> xmca mailing list
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