If all the energy and passion … that are expended every year at Europe’s gambling tables … were stored up, an entire Roman people and Roman history could be created from them. But this is precisely the point. Because every man is born a Roman, bourgeois society seeks to de-Romanize him, and this is why there are games of chance, as well as parlor games, novels, Italian operas and fashionable newspapers.

– Ludwig Borne, c. 1830s, quoted in Walter Benjamin. “On Some Motifs in Baudelaire.” In Benjamin. The Writer in Modern Life: Essays on Charles Baudelaire. Cambridge, MA: Belknap, 2006, p.194.