"Although densest in theatres, theatricality extended everywhere in
eighteenth-century Paris – to the Parlement, where magistrates
declaimed like Roman senators; the Châtelet court, where cases
were staged like dramas; salons and cafés, where wits put on performances; and street scenes, where fishmongers, peddlers, organ-grinders and beggars clamoured for the attention of passers-by. In
public spaces everywhere, Paris was a comédie humaine."
Theatricality and Violence in Paris, 1788 is a lecture conducted by renowned scholar Robert Darnton at the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford and extracted from Voltaire: an Oxford Celebration, ed. N. Cronk, A. Oliver and G. Pink (Oxford, Voltaire Foundation, 2022).