Lev S. Vygotsky

Lev S. Vygotsky (1896–1934) studied at Moscow University. He began his systematic work in psychology at the age of 28, and within a few years formulated his theory of the development of specifically human higher mental functions. He died of tuberculosis in 1934. Thought and Language was published posthumously that same year.

  • Thought and Language, Revised And Expanded Edition

    Thought and Language, Revised And Expanded Edition

    Lev S. Vygotsky

    A new edition of a foundational work of cognitive science that outlines a theory of the development of specifically human higher mental functions.

    Since it was introduced to the English-speaking world in 1962, Lev Vygotsky's Thought and Language has become recognized as a classic foundational work of cognitive science. Its 1962 English translation must certainly be considered one of the most important and influential books ever published by the MIT Press. In this highly original exploration of human mental development, Vygotsky analyzes the relationship between words and consciousness, arguing that speech is social in its origins and that only as children develop does it become internalized verbal thought.

    In 1986, the MIT Press published a new edition of the original translation by Eugenia Hanfmann and Gertrude Vakar, edited by Vygotsky scholar Alex Kozulin, that restored the work's complete text and added materials to help readers better understand Vygotsky's thought. Kozulin also contributed an introductory essay that offered new insight into Vygotsky's life, intellectual milieu, and research methods. This expanded edition offers Vygotsky's text, Kozulin's essay, a subject index, and a new foreword by Kozulin that maps the ever-growing influence of Vygotsky's ideas.

    • Paperback $45.00 £35.00
  • Thought and Language, Revised Edition

    Thought and Language, Revised Edition

    Lev S. Vygotsky and Alex Kozulin

    Since it was introduced to the English-speaking world in 1962, Lev Vygotsky's highly original exploration of human mental development has become recognized as a classic foundational work of cognitive science. Vygotsky analyzes the relationship between words and consciousness, arguing that speech is social in its origins and that only as children develop does it become internalized verbal thought.

    Now Alex Kozulin has created a new edition of the original MIT Press translation by Eugenia Hanfmann and Gertrude Vakar that restores the work's complete text and adds materials that will help readers better understand Vygotsky's meaning and intentions. Kozulin has also contributed an introductory essay that offers new insight into the author's life, intellectual milieu, and research methods.

    • Hardcover $27.50
    • Paperback $39.00 £26.95
  • The Psychology of Art

    Lev S. Vygotsky

    Vygotsky opened up an original field in the science of psychology, based on the sociohistorical theory of the nature of man's consciousness.

    This work, written more than forty years ago and now translated into English for the first time, approaches the study of art from a psychological basis. However, Vygotsky's view is free of the old subjective-empirical outlook. His method, while objective and analytical, found its basis in the reasoning that to analyze the structure of artistic creation one must re-create the total concept motivated Vygotsky to evolve the means by which artistic accomplishments could be examined and the elements of their validity “revealed.”

    The Psychology of Art discusses the literary genre in its classical forms – the fable, the epic, the short story, and Shakespearean tragedy. The heightened levels of perception and feeling that are created by great literature and drama are discussed by Vygotsky with clarity and conviction.

    Many of the appraisals in this work resulted from Vygotsky's reaction to the fallacious “solutions” proposed by the one-sided, traditional views of the literary critics of his time. An entire chapter, “Art as Technique,” investigates and expresses his contradistinctive views of the formalistic view of the nature of art. For Vygotsky, form did not and could not exist independently as a valid dimension – form appeared only in relation to the medium or the material it incarnated.

    Vygotsky's presentation of his thesis in The Psychology of Art is a logical procession of his basic thoughts. In the first chapter, “The Psychological Problem of Art,” he clarifies the major pitfall of criticism up to his day, where he points out: “The fundamental error of experimental aesthetics consists in starting from the wrong end, that of aesthetic pleasure and aesthetic appraisal, all the while intentionally ignoring the fact that both pleasure and appraisal may be arbitrary, secondary, or even irrelevant features of aesthetic behavior.” From here he goes on to investigate the psychological premises of art.

    In viewing a work of art as “a combination of aesthetic symbols aimed at arousing emotions in people,” Vygotsky proceeds to analyze these symbols and re-create the basic, “impersonal” components that make up the psychology of the work – without specific references to author-creator or reader-subject – examining only the elements of form and material that are combined in the work. For example, in his chapter on Hamlet Vygotsky examines the structure from “subjective” and “objective” viewpoints, presents the problems of “identification” of the hero, and discusses the play in its various levels of consciousness.

    Essentially a work of synthesis, The Psychology of Art laid the foundations for a new science of art, and as such is a major contribution to its study.

    • Hardcover $15.95
    • Paperback $22.50 £17.99
  • Thought and Language

    Lev S. Vygotsky

    Jerome S. Bruner, in the biographic introduction to this volume, write,: This powerful... book... is a presentation of a highly original and thoughtful theory of intellectual development... which is at the same time, a theory of education.... One recognizes his power and ingenuity....”

    Vygotsky's closely reasoned, highly readable analysis of the nature of verbal thought as based on word meaning marks a significant step forward in the growing effort to understand cognitive processes. Speech is, he argues, social in origins. It is learned from others and, at first, used entirely for affective and social functions. Only with time does it come to have self-directive properties that eventually result in internalized verbal thought. To Vygotsky, “a word is a microcosm of human consciousness.”

    Theorists and educators, linguistic and psychology students will find illuminating insights in Vygotsky's description of the sequences stages in word-meaning development, the genesis and function of inner speech, the nature of written spreech, and the role of school instruction in the development of higher mental operations.

    Vygotsky devised or adapted ingenious methods – many of the “double stimulation” type – to study the successive stages of mental growth. His theoretical discussions are based on a concept-formation study conducted by this method and on three other experimental investigations: studies of egocentric speech that substantially modify Piaget's conceptions; studies of the interaction of mental development and school instruction; and a study comparing development of the “scientific” concepts the child learns in school with his informally acquired “natural relents” concepts.

    • Hardcover $22.50
    • Paperback $5.95