Tuesday, 6 March 2012

'GERMAN' HERITAGE
Towards identifying commonalities in
András Pető, L. S. Vygotskii and A. R. Luriya

Levitin, K. (1982) One is Not Born a Personality: Profiles of Soviet Educational Psychologists, Moscow, Progress

I have just noticed that Karl Levitin's quirky little book is available on the Internet, in full and in free open access:


It was published in Moscow, in English, towards the close of the Soviet period and is in more ways than one an exceedingly irritating and frustrating publication. Its opening chapter, however, is written without the too obvious intrusion of its editor and offers an interesting account of the early life of L. S. Vygotskii, written by boyhood friend Semyon Dobkin. (Chapter III offers a glimpse of Luriya's earlier life).

Over the last few months, in preparation for the forthcoming book on András Pető to be published by Conductive Education Press, I have been reading something of the life of András Pető and, in preparation for this weekend's conference in Rosenheim, I have been writing something of the important part that the German language and German culture played in his life. By 'German' here I do not of course refer just to the territory of the present Federal Republic, but that great, rich cultural and linguistic entity that stretched in the first part of the twentieth century from the borders of France to the Volga.

András Pető in Szomathely, on the present Hugarian-Austrian border; L. S. Vygotskii in Gomel', in present-day Belarus; A. R. Luriya in Kazan' in present-day Tatarstan on the Volga – not just contemporaries but all three more 'German' than is generally credited by writers from successor states (and by Western writers who tend to present these life stories uncritically and ahistorically, for presumably different reasons).

Well worth considering by those interested in common factors in the thinking and practice of all three.

Reference

Dobkin, S. (1982) Ages and days, in K. Levitin, (ed.) One is Not Born a Personality: Profiles of Soviet Educational Psychologists, Moscow, Progress, pp. 11-20

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