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In the following text :

Era la noche oscura, y la hora las once; y habiendo andado dos o tres calles y viéndose solo y que no tenía con quién hablar, determinó don Juan volverse a casa, y poniéndolo en efecto, al pasar por una calle que tenía portales sustentados en mármoles, oyó que de una puerta le ceceaban. La oscuridad de la noche y la que causaban los portales no le dejaban adivinar el ceceo. Detúvose un poco, estuvo atento y vio entreabrirse una puerta. Llegóse a ella y oyó una voz baja que dijo:

The conjunction "y" doesn't seem to have the same function as in modern Spanish, could somebody explain the function of this redundancy ?

Sincerely.

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    All those instances of "y" mean "and". There are definitely a lot of them, which might be some literary device. – wimi Sep 23 '20 at 13:03
  • I agree with wimi. It could be a case of anaphora: RHETORIC the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive clauses. – Gustavson Sep 23 '20 at 13:32
  • Yes, like wimi says, the meaning is the same as today, and all the sentences are grammatically correct, though they have a distinctive archaic sound. I'd even say there aren't that many "y". A modern editor would probably delete a couple and rearrange the punctuation somewhat. – pablodf76 Sep 23 '20 at 14:14
  • This text is not early medieval Spanish by any means. In fact, it's solidly Golden Age, as Miguel de Cervantes wrote it. There are only one or two Ys that feel "extra", but even then, not that much so. In actual medieval Spanish, is used, and pronounced (and transcribed in many modern editions) as e instead of y. There, I tend to read them as a punctuation mark that initiates a sentence (many a chapter begins with it) – user0721090601 Sep 23 '20 at 14:22
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It's a literary figure called Polysyndeton

A stylistic scheme, polysyndeton is the deliberate insertion of conjunctions into a sentence for the purpose of "slow[ing] up the rhythm of the prose" so as to produce "an impressively solemn note."

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It is the same as AND:

Era la noche oscura, AND la hora las once; AND habiendo andado dos o tres calles AND viéndose solo AND que no tenía con quién hablar, determinó don Juan volverse a casa, AND poniéndolo en efecto, al pasar por una calle que tenía portales sustentados en mármoles, oyó que de una puerta le ceceaban. La oscuridad de la noche AND la que causaban los portales no le dejaban adivinar el ceceo. Detúvose un poco, estuvo atento AND vio entreabrirse una puerta. Llegóse a ella AND oyó una voz baja que dijo:

Y, as you first inferred, IS working as aa conjunction.

Regarding the redundancy, well, it is just preference of writing style. The writer preferred to use Y to CONJUNCT these sentences.

The same thing can be done in English:

The night was dark, AND it was eleven, AND having walked two or three streets, AND feeling himself alone AND that he had no one to talk to, he decided to go back home, AND doing so, while... (and so on and so forth)

And yes, as wimi pointed out, it can be used as aa literary device.

It was used in the past more often. Now, well, yes, indeed, it is used by writers that feel that Y gives their writing aa certain flavour.

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