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New Left Review I/48, March-April 1968

Walter Benjamin

Paris, Capital of the 19th Century

The waters are blue and the plants pink;
the evening is sweet to look upon;
one goes for a stroll. The great ladies are
out for a stroll; behind them walk lesser ladies.
Nguyen-Trong-Hiep: Paris capital of France (1897)

I Fourier or the Arcades

De ces palais les colonnes magiques
A l’amateur montrent de toutes parts
Dans les objets qu’étalent leurs portiques
Que l’industrie est rivale des arts.
Nouveaux tableaux de Paris (1828) [1] ‘The magic columns of these palaces show to the connoisseur on every side, in the articles which their portals display, that industry rivals the arts.’

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Walter Benjamin, ‘Paris, Capital of the 19th Century’, NLR I/48: £3

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