Biography (Cyclopedia of World Authors, Fourth Revised Edition)
Lev Semenovich Vygotsky (vi-GOT-skee) pioneered work in psychology which belatedly influenced the study of art, literature, linguistics, and education as well as psychology. What little is known of his life comes from the accounts of his colleagues. He was born in 1896 in White Russia, the son of a small-town banker. He was educated by private tutors and later in the Jewish Gymnasium, where he developed an interest in Jewish history and culture. He attended medical school in Moscow in deference to his parents’ practical concerns, but he later switched to the study of law, to be nearer humanistic subjects. While pursuing his studies at Moscow University, Vygotsky also attended Shanyavskii People’s University, an unofficial institution established in reaction to government repression at the state universities. Following his graduation from Moscow University, Vygotsky returned to the provinces to teach literature and psychology. He attracted the notice of professional psychologists at a convention in 1924, at which he delivered a brilliantly original paper. His wife, Roza, accompanied him to Moscow in 1924, when he joined the staff of the Institute of Psychology there.
In the ten years following his appointment to the Psychological Institute, Vygotsky was extraordinarily productive. He founded a new institute for the study of children with physical handicaps and learning disabilities. While maintaining a heavy schedule as a researcher and...
(The entire section is 899 words.)
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