Debates on the ‘right to the city’ are proceeding apace with the recent publication of David Harvey’s Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution [2012]. In Harvey’s hands, the right to the city is a claim to some kind of shaping power over the processes of urbanisation, over the ways in which our cities are made and remade, and to do so in a fundamental and radical way. Here, of course, the main intellectual backstop is Henri Lefebvre’s Le Droit à la Ville [1968] that articulates a cry and a demand to transform and renew the foundations of urban time-spaces, or the way of living in the city. In exploring the spatial forms of the city, Carlos Fuentes (1928-2012) has always been a chronicler of Mexico City (see ‘From the Death of Artemio Cruz to the Death of Carlos Fuentes’). His national epics, such as La región más transparente (Where the Air is Clear, 1958) have also located him as a cronista of modern Mexico, or one of its key pensadores (intellectuals-at-large), providing a vision of culture on a national scale, accompanying the community, guiding it through its dilemmas, consoling it in grief, and sharing in its triumph, albeit at times as an authorised voice of the state, as Claudio Lomnitz has noted. So what can one make of the publication of Vlad, first published in a collection Inquieta compañía [2004], then subsequently in the year 2010, the centenary of the Mexican Revolution and Mexico’s bicentenary of independence, and now in English translation with Dalkey Archive Press?

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