In 1878, on his way to London at the age of seventeen, the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore made a brief halt in Paris, where he visited the Turkish Baths and the Paris Exhibition. Physically wrung out by the former, he appears to have been mentally overwhelmed, to the point of nervous exhaustion, by the latter. Already dazzled by the city’s palaces, roads, fountains, and carriages, he found the Exhibition a city within a city, from which he carried away memories of picture-galleries, buildings, and objects that he could neither sort nor process: he saw, he says, everything and nothing. Restless and unsatisfied, he proceeded to London, which appeared to him in his unhappy state a place of darkness, full of smoke, mist, rain, mud and a press of people in a constant state of agitation. 1