“Lines of Mourning”: On the Issue of National and Cultural Self-Determination of L.S. Vygotsky



The paper presents the full text of a work by L.S. Vygotsky “Lines of Mourning” (1916) along with detailed commentaries. This article was the first of the three published in the Jewish periodical Noviy Put’ that can be considered a triptych dedicated to the issues of national, cultural and religious traditions and their relation with modern times. The text and commentaries provide an insight into personal meanings and attitudes of young Vygotsky in the situation of political and value/normative uncertainty. This enables us to reconstruct the features of social, political, national and ethic self-definition of the scientist and to reveal the grounds and values underlying the cultural-historical approach. Special attention is brought to the dialogic nature of the Jewish and Russian culture. In the commentaries we also focus on the specifics of artistic and reflective position of Vygotsky in relation to pre-revolutionary events that took place at that time: understanding this allows us to comprehend a whole set of social, political, moral, ethic and truly psychological problems that would later on be reflected in his scientific works. Another section of our commentaries is centered on the analysis of the article’s style and composition and its multi-layered structure.

General Information

Keywords: cultural-historical psychology, psychology of experience (perezhivanie), religious experience, national and cultural self-definition, stylistic specifics, composition principle

Journal rubric: Vygotskology

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17759/chp.2017130201

For citation: Sobkin V.S., Klimova T.A. “Lines of Mourning”: On the Issue of National and Cultural Self-Determination of L.S. Vygotsky. Kul'turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya = Cultural-Historical Psychology, 2017. Vol. 13, no. 2, pp. 4–12. DOI: 10.17759/chp.2017130201. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


  1. Bakhtin M.M. Estetika slovesnogo tvorchestva [Aesthetics of verbal creativity]. Moscow: Khudozhestvennaya literatura, 1979, 412 p.
  2. Bibliya [The Bible]. Knigi Svyashchennogo pisaniya, Vetkhogo i Novogo Zaveta (kanonicheskie) [Books of the Holy Scriptures, Old and New Testament (canonical)]. Moscow: Rosiyskoe bibliograficheskoe obschestvo, 2012. 1248 p.
  3. Bol’shoi tolkovyi slovar’ sovremennogo russkogo yazyka: v 4 t. T. 3. [Great explanatory dictionary of the modern Russian language in 4 vol. 3]. In D.N. Ushakova (ed.). Moscow, 1939, 1424 stb.
  4. Brokgauz F.A., Efron I.A. Aba devyatoe [Ab is the ninth]. Evreiskaya entsiklopediya Brokgauza i Efrona, T. 1: A — Almemar [ Jewish encyclopedia of Brockhaus and Efron, V. 1: A — Almemar]. Saint-Petersburg, 1908, stb. 31—37.
  5. Vasilyuk F.E. Molitva — molchanie — psikhoterapiya [Prayer — silence — psychotherapy]. Moskovskii psikhoterapevticheskii zhurnal [Moscow psychotherapeutic magazine], 1996, no. 4, pp. 141—145.
  6. Vasilyuk F.E. Perezhivanie i molitva (opyt obshchepsikhologicheskogo issledovaniya) [Experience and prayer (experience of general psychological research)]. Moscow: Smysl, 2005. 191 p.
  7. Vygodskaya G.L., Lifanova T.M. Lev Semenovich Vygotskii.Zhizn’. Deyatel’nost’. Shtrikhi k portretu [Lev Semenovich Vygotsky. A life. Activity. Strokes to the portrait.]. Moscow: Smysl, 1996. 424 p.
  8. Vygotskii L.S. Sobranie soch. v 6 t., T. 6 [Collected Works: in 6 v. Vol. 6]. : Pedagogika, 1984. 400 p.
  9. Vygotskii L.S. Myshlenie i rech’ [Thinking and speaking]. Edition 5, Moscow: Labirint, 1999. 352 p.
  10. Vygotskii L.S. Polnoe sobranie sochinenii. V 16 t. T. 1. Dramaturgiya i teatr [Collected Works: in 16 v. Vol. 1. Dramaturgy and theater]. Moscow: Lev», 2016. 752 p.
  11. Vygotskii L.S. Mysli i nastroeniya [Thoughts and moods]. Novyi put’ [New Way], 1916, no. 48—49.
  12. Vygotskii L.S. Avodim hoinu. Novyi put’ [New Way], 1917, no. 11—12.
  13. Lermontov M.Yu. Sochineniya: V 6 t. T. 1. Stikhotvoreniya 1828-1831 [Compositions in 6 v. Vol. 1. Poems 1828-1831]. Moscow: Publ. AN SSSR, 1954, p. 452.
  14. Pergamenshchik L.A. Lev Semenovich Vygotskii: v poiskakh tsentral’noi idei novoi psikhologii [Lev Semenovich Vygotsky: in search of the central idea of new psychology]. Dialog [Dialogue], 2016, no. 2, pp. 5—12.
  15. Sobkin V.S. Vstupitel’naya stat’ya. L.S. Vygotskii: abris sotsiokul’turnogo konteksta [Introductory article. L.S. Vygotsky: the outline of the socio-cultural context]. In Vygotskii L.S. Polnoe sobranie sochinenii v 16 t. T. 1. Dramaturgiya i teatr [Collected Works: in 16 v. Vol. 1. Dramaturgy and theater]. Moscow: Lev», 2016. 752 p.
  16. Sobkin V.S. K issledovaniyu poetiki tekstov L.S. Vygotskogo [To the study of the poetics of texts LS. Vygotsky]. Nauchnoe tvorchestvo L.S. Vygotskogo i sovremennaya psikhologiya [Scientific creativity LS. Vygotsky and modern psychology]. Moscow, 1981, pp. 143—145.
  17. Sobkin V.S. Kommentarii k teatral’nym retsenziyam L’va Vygotskogo [Comments on the theatrical reviews of Lev Vygotsky.]. Vygotskii L.S. Teatral’nye retsenzii [Vygotsky L.S. Theatrical reviews]. Moscow: Institut sotsiologii obrazovaniya RAO, 2015. 568 p.
  18. Sobkin V.S., Klimova T.A. Kommentarii k neizvestnomu reportazhu L.S. Vygotskogo: vpechatleniya o Fevral’skoi revolyutsii [Commentary on an unknown report by L.S. Vygotsky: Impressions of the February Revolution]. Voprosy psikhologii [Psychology questions], 2016 (a), no. 5, pp. 88—101.
  19. Sobkin V.S., Klimova T.A. Neizvestnyi Vygotskii: ob opyte perevoda s drevneevreiskogo [Unknown Vygotsky: the experience of translation from the Hebrew]. Voprosy psikhologii [Psychology questions], 2016 (b), no. 4, pp. 76—95.
  20. Sobkin V.S., Klimova T.A. Lev Vygotskii mezhdu dvukh revolyutsii: k voprosu o politicheskom samoopredelenii uchenogo [Lev Vygotsky between two revolutions: to the question of the political self-determination of the scientis]. Natsional’nyi psikhologicheskii zhurnal [National psychological magazine], 2016 (c), no. 3 (23), pp. 20—31. doi: 10.11621/npj.2016.0303
  21. Sobkin V.S., Leont’ev D.A. Psikhologiya iskusstva i psikhologicheskaya metodologiya v rannikh rabotakh L.S. Vygotskogo [Psychology of art and psychological methodology in the early works of LS. Vygotsky]. Vestnik Moskovskogo universiteta. Series 14. Psikhologiya [Bulletin of the Moscow university. Series 14. Psychology], 1994, no. 4, pp. 35—44.
  22. Sobkin V.S., Mazanova V.S. Kommentarii k stat’e L.S. Vygotskogo «Teatr i revolyutsiya» [Commentary on the paper by L.S. Vygotsky “Theatre and Revolution”]. Kul’turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya [Cultural and historical psychology], 2015, no. 1, pp. 91—113. (In Russ., abstr. in Engl.).
  23. Sobkin V.S., Mazanova V.S. Kommentarii k teatral’noi retsenzii L.S. Vygotskogo «Gastroli Solovtsovskoi truppy» [Commentary on the paper by L.S. Vygotsky “Tour of the Solovtsov troupe”]. Dialog [Dialogue], 2014 (a), no. 9, pp. 39—48.
  24. Sobkin V.S., Mazanova V.S. Kommentarii k «Teatral’nym zametkam» L.S. Vygotskogo [Commentary on the “Theatrical’s notes” by L.S. Vygotsky]. Kul’turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya [Cultural and historical psychology], 2014 (b), no. 3, pp. 82—96. (In Russ., abstr. in Engl.).
  25. Sobkin V.S., Mazanova V.S. O chem rasskazal gomel’skii «Veresk» L’va Vygotskogo: opyt rekonstruktsii sotsiokul’turnogo konteksta [What did the Gomel «Heather» Lev Vygotsky talk about: the experience of reconstructing the socio-cultural context]. Voprosy psikhologii [Psychology questions], 2014 (c), no. 6, pp. 89—106.
  26. Sobkin V.S., Mazanova V.S. Opyt kommentariev k odnoi teatral’noi retsenzii L.S. Vygotskogo [The experience of commenting on one theatrical review by L.S. Vygotsky]. Natsional’nyi psikhologicheskii zhurnal [National psychological magazine], 2014 (d), no. 1, pp. 37—48. doi: 10.11621/npj.2014.0104

Information About the Authors

Vladimir S. Sobkin, Doctor of Psychology, Professor, Academician of the Russian Academy of Education, Head of the Center for Sociology of Education, Institute of Education Management, Center for Modern Problems of Modern Education at the Psychological Institute of the Russian Academy of Education, Moscow, Russia, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2339-9080, e-mail: sobkin@mail.ru

Tatiana A. Klimova, Senior Lecturer, Chair of General and Applied Psychology, Moscow Orthodox Institute of St. John Theologian, Moscow, Russia, e-mail: t-klim@list.ru



Total: 1996
Previous month: 6
Current month: 2


Total: 743
Previous month: 1
Current month: 1