Middlesex Professor Translates Legendary Sicilian Author

Santi V. Buscemi

EDISON—Santi V. Buscemi, professor of English at Middlesex County College, has published a translation of Luigi Capuana’s book of children’s fairy tales, “C’era una volta.” The book is called “Sicilian Tales,” and it is published by Dante University Press.

“Capuana is a major figure in Italian literature,” Buscemi said. “He is the co-founder of the literary movement called ‘Verismo’, which holds that society and government exert so much pressure on the individual that it is impossible to exert free will.”

Buscemi’s father was born in Sicily and his mother was born in New York, but she grew up in Sicily. When the professor was researching topics for a book, he came across the name “Capuana” and it rang a bell: his aunt in Sicily lived on Capuana Street, which was named for the author.

“Sicilian Tales” includes a 43-page history of Sicilian literature as well as a side-by-side spread of the children’s tales – the left side is the Italian version; the right side is the English translation.

The work contains 20 fairy tales that appeal to readers of all ages. They are stories of kings and queens, princes and princesses, good and evil.

“This book was really a joy for me,” Buscemi said. “I was born into a Sicilian household and my first language was Sicilian, but I really didn’t know much about my heritage. Trips to Sicily whetted my appetite for Italian literature; learning about Capuana and his importance has been immensely enjoyable and fulfilling.”

Others feel the same way.

“Professor Santi Buscemi has done us a great service with his beautiful translation of Luigi Capuano’s “C’Era Una Volta” (Sicilian Tales) and his incredibly comprehensive introduction to Sicilian Literature (“Brief History” belies its sweep and scope) which precedes these charming fairy tales,” said Dr. William D’Arienzo of Rider University. “Buy it and read these tales to your children or grandchildren. Neither you nor they will be disappointed.”

And Nino Russo, creator of the website IlSiciliano.net, applauds the entire book, and says of the introduction, “Your brief history of the Sicilian literature is a jewel; so concise and yet whole and with such beautiful flowing style.”

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