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Anton Yasnitsky

"Tool and Sign": The Most Famous Vygotsky's Work that He Never Wrote

2017. Vol. 14. No. 4. P. 576–606 [issue contents]

The article discusses the history of the creation, multiple translation, falsification and eventual publication of a text by Vygotsky and Luria. Following this publication, the text was declared one of the foundational works of Vygotsky. The study traces the way from the original version of the text (reportedly originally composed in the late 1920s) to the typed version of the text in English that Luria passed to Michael Cole for subsequent publication in the West and, finally, to the Russian version of the text that was back-translated from English when the original Russian text was lost. The study is based on the comparative structural and textological analysis of the text and its repeating fragments (i.e., the non-verbatim semantic repetitions of the text both in the Russian version and, comparatively, in the multilingual versions of the text in English and Russian). Also, the study involved the analysis of the archival documents and memoir publications. The paper demonstrates that the Russian text of the work "Tool and sign in the development of the child" that was first published in Russian in 1984 under the editorship of M.G. Yaroshevsky was created as a result of manipulations caused by the uncoordinated work of two (or more) translators and, not unlikely, further editorial interventions. The study comes to the conclusion that the Russian text of the 1984 Pedagogika Press edition of the six-volume Collected works by Vygotsky is definitely and hopelessly discredited as Vygotsky's (and Luria's) authentic text of the late 1920s-early 1930s. Finally, the paper discusses the problem of the possible periodization of this text and, further, the problem of authenticity from the standpoint of contemporary revisionist Vygotsky Studies.

Citation: Yasnitsky A. (2017) "Tool and Sign": The Most Famous Vygotsky's Work that He Never Wrote. Psychology. Journal of Higher School of Economics, no 4, pp. 576-606 (in Russian)
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