The phantasmagoria of capitalist culture attains its most radiant unfolding in the world exhibition of 1867. The Second Empire is at the height of its power. Paris is acknowledged as the capital of luxury and fashion. Offenbach sets the rhythm of Parisian life. The operetta is the ironic utopia of an enduring reign of capital.
—Walter Benjamin, “Paris, the Capital of the Nineteenth Century”
(1935 version, translated by Howard Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin)