Background. The paper contains a revised text of Lev Vygotsky's review of Andrei Bely's novel “Petersburg”. In addition to Vygotsky’s review the paper presents the author’s comment. The review is of particular importance for understanding the biography facts of Lev Vygotsky, the greatest psychologist of the twentieth century.
The Objective is to provide the modern reader with a semantic understanding of both the text of the peer-reviewed novel and a special stage of personal, national and religious self-determination of Lev Vygotsky, the outstanding psychologist of the twentieth century.
Design. When working on the comment, traditional historical and philological methods of text analysis and reading techniques were used to identify the hidden and implicit citations contained in Vygotsky's review from a number of interpretation angles. One of them concerns the artistic features of the novel associated with the distinctive aesthetics of symbolism. Another perspective is connected with the religious and philosophical issues that determine the ideological position of Andrey Bely. The third one concerns a wide range of issues related to anti-Semitism issues.
Results. We sought to give the reader an opportunity to feel the urgency of the political situation and ideology in the Russian intelligentsia of the period when the novel was created and the review was written. We tried to devote particular attention to the aspects of a psychological phenomena (e.g. consciousness, semantic understanding) and those methodological principles that Vygotsky would later use in his own psychological research.
Findings.The analysis of Vygotsky's review carried out in the paper will help clarify the authenticity of the cultural-historical approach of Vygotsky as psychologist. Keywords:symbolism, artistic features of the text, anti-Semiteism, Sionism, consciousness, self-determination.
The paper presented texts of the three previously unknown Lvygotsky’s journal notes and comments on them. These texts were published in mid-July and early September 1917 in the Jewish weekly «New Path» under the pseudonym «L.S.» and «W». In these texts, Lev Vygotsky describes the features of the political behaviour of the Jewish population in connection with the revolutionary events in Russia. On the one hand, a clear discrepancy between the activation of party work and political rhetoric is mentioned, and on the other hand, reduction of the significance of Jewish communal life is highlighted. As a key characteristic of social and psychological wellbeing of the Jewish population Vygotsky singles out absenteeism, i.e. the lack of interest in politics. Eventually the scientist captures the increase in uncertainty in the Jewish environment and fear of the future political, social and economic reforms in Russia. In the comments on Vygotsky notes, there are definitions relating to the various features of the activities of the Jewish political parties and public organizations, information about various policy documents and staff characterized by social and political situation before the elections in the Consituent Assembly (Uchreditel’noe Sobranie). Particular attention is paid to the analysis of stylistic and structural features of the commented text construction. By implicit quoting the relationship between Vygotsky’s texts and the works of other authors is identified.
Particular attention is paid to the author’s attitude to religious texts, which allows to select a characteristic feature of the «double vision» of real events of the revolution against the background of the Jewish history. The comments help to single out features of the political identity of the young Lev Vygotsky in the period between the two revolutions, which is important to study his biography and understanding of his world view.