the baby in the mirror

Gita Vygodskaya

I was saddened to hear the news from Moscow this week of the passing of Dr Gita L. Vygodskaya. Gita was Lev Vygotsky‘s eldest daughter and became an eminent psychologist in her own right. She had an important part to play in bringing Vygotsky’s unpublished writings to publication, and she also wrote movingly about her memories of her father in an article entitled ‘Remembering Father’, which we included in our 1999 Critical Assessments of Vygotsky’s work.

For me, one of the most memorable details of Gita’s account was the description of life in the family’s cramped Moscow flat. Vygotsky was already suffering from the tuberculosis that would kill him at age thirty-seven, and was hard at work on his masterpiece, Thinking and Speech. He nevertheless always found space for Gita to do her homework on the table beside him. It’s a fact I always remember when my kids have their own work to do, and it’s a wonderful reminder of a great genius and his pioneering, dedicated daughter.

Thanks to Marina Nelson for letting me know the sad news about Gita and for giving me permission to use the photograph.

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