Miasto jako przestrzeń zagrożona – refleksje na podstawie powieści Sylwii Chutnik „Cwaniary”


  • Aleksandra Hołubowicz Uniwersytet Gdański, Instytut Anglistyki i Amerykanistyki


In Chutnik’s novel Warsaw is featured as a city facing an imminent collapse. Formerly the jeopardy was of an external nature depicted in Cwaniary as barging in from the outside. In the recent history it has been associated with the Nazi, who occupied, besieged the Polish capital and ultimately annihilated it. However, currently the enemies are less conspicuous at first glance, as they are disguised as rescuers. The author identifies the source of evil as corporations implementing investments in the area of urban development. Greedy businesspeople under the pretence of completing ‘revitalization projects’ in fact seize opportunities offered to them by the existing politico-economic system in order to gain profits, whatever the costs. As a result, the local community suffers and the (mainly female) protagonists of the book take up the task of saving the city from the doom.

The paper places Chutnik’s novel in the light of the urban studies drawing heavily on David Harvey’s research as well as in reference to the project Niewidzialne miasto (The Invisible City) as illustrated in the work edited by Marek Krajewski, Cwaniary is here used as a case study to exemplify various urban phenomena in addition to representing global trends in municipal policies. Chutnik’a work is an adequate example of the workings of gentrification and actual devitalization of cities despite their rapid development, frequently where the corporation acts in the gray zone between the legal and the forbidden.

The aim of the paper is to analyze the functions of the way in which Chutnik’s hero(ine)s are constructed in order to deliberate the issues of the local, the urban as well as the anti-urban. Furthermore, it is worth examining the subversive practices employed by the ‘badass girls’ in their struggle to protect the city and its citizens, as manifested in the novel, in the view of Halberstam’s gaga-feminism. Finally,the goal is to study effective tactics of resistance and consider whether acting in defiance of the existing order makes sense.


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Hołubowicz, A. (2014). Miasto jako przestrzeń zagrożona – refleksje na podstawie powieści Sylwii Chutnik „Cwaniary”. Jednak Książki. Gdańskie Czasopismo Humanistyczne, (1), 213–229. Pobrano z https://czasopisma.bg.ug.edu.pl/index.php/JednakKsiazki/article/view/484