Narrativity and indebtedness are inextricably intertwined. Absolvere, in Latin, means both to “pay off” a debt and to “relate” a historical event that has reached its conclusion, that is complete (absolutum). In the Arabian Nights, Scheherazade tells many stories about debt and debtors; but it is also her very narration that she evokes as the redeeming of a debt (“I am willing to pay my debt,” she says when resuming her story at the beginning of the Twelfth Night). Following some of Walter Benjamin’s insights, this essay delves into the economy of narration as finance, a word that used to mean “ending.” And it asks: since when has finance become without an end?

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