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"Peter Kropotkin and his Work "The Conquest of Bread" - report by Sonia Arribas

On April 2, 2019, within the framework of the seminar "West and East: Universalism of Culture" of the International Laboratory for the Study of Russian and European Intellectual Dialogue there was a lecture by Sonia Arribas, Professor of the University of Pompeu Fabra

Sonia Arribas presented an analysis of Kropotkin's book “The Conquest of Bread”, paying particular attention to the symbol “bread”. A new reading of the book was proposed, different from the way the book is usually read: as a revolutionary program based on belief in scientific progress. We must perceive this work as the literary fruit of Kropotkin's imagination. Bread performs various functions: it is a tool of rhetoric; and the relationship between natural and social; and the expression of the material as opposed to the ideal; and the way to meet the need; and the expression of a specific form of anarchism that Kropotkin preached (bread serves as an argument against political economy); and, finally, “bread” can be interpreted as the basis of ethics. It was also suggested to read the book from the end, starting with her last sentences, where Kropotkin denies writing fiction. According to Sonia Arribas, this can be perceived as Freud's denial, and today the book can only be read as an artistic work. 

Sonia Arribas (Ph.D New School for Social Research, New York, 2004) is Professor of Humanities at the UPF. She teaches at the MA Program in Literature, Art and Philosophy (UPF, Barcelona), and at the MA Program in Theatre Creation (University Carlos III, Madrid). Complete List of publications: https://producciocientifica.upf.edu/CawDOS/jsf/principal/principal.jsf.