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In The Art of the Novel, Milan Kundera's examination of the technique and craft of writing, Kundera cites Point de Lendermain as one of the most famous European uses of litany in prose.

The first paragraph of Point de Lendermain ("No Tomorrow") is often used as an example of the importance of litany and repetition both when writing and translating.

Original French:

J'aimais éperdument la Comptesse de ....; j'avais vingt ans, et j'étais ingenu; elle me trompa, je me fâchai, elle me quitta. J'étais ingénu, je la regrettai; j'avais vingt ans, elle me pardonna; et comme j'avais vingt ans, que j'étais ingénu, toujours trompé, mais plus quitté, je me croyais l'amant le mieux aimé, partant le plus heureux des hommes.

English Translation:

I was madly in love with the Comtesse De ...; I was twenty, and I was naive; she cuckolded me, I protested, she deserted me. I was naive, I longed for her; I was twenty, she forgave me; and because I was twenty, was naive, was still cuckolded but no longer deserted, I thought myself the best beloved of her lovers, and thus the happiest man alive.

Until recently, the trend in English language translation has been to replace a word used repetitiously with that word's synonym. This method was seen as more grammatically correct than a true translation of the author's original text, and necessary to make a novel readable.

Within the last forty years, this trend has been largely discredited within the translation community.

Further evidence for the historical and rhetorical importance of repetition in prose can be found in your friendly neighborhood origin myth, where litany is a time-honored means of reinforcing a storytelling element. The technique of repetition is used most famously in Genesis of the King James Bible, listing God's creation of the basic elements of life through repetition of the phrase "God called" and "God said". A translation which technically "corrected" the King James Bible by replacing these phrases with more colorful or inventive wording would lose much of it's impact.

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