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The Lady Of The Wheel ( La Ruotaia ).

Coniglio, Angelo F.

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ISBN 10: 1881901866 / ISBN 13: 9781881901860
Published by Legas, Mineola, 2012
New Condition: New Soft cover
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About this Item

83 pages. Softcover. New book. FICTION. This story is about late-1800s Sicily, which had only recently been under the yoke of Spanish Bourbon rule. Though feudalism had been nominally abolished in 1812, its customs and social restrictions were still felt. The work is faction, but the place names are real. The personal names are typical of the region, as are the customs alluded to, and the choices made for the names of foundlings. Although it appears in no modern Italian dictionary, and it is unfamiliar to even well-edcated Italians, the word ruotaia was used regularly in the public records of Sicily at the time of this story, in the context explained herein. Other archaic words are used, and are either translated or self-explanatory. An actual person with the name and occupation of the protagonist in this story once lived in Racalmuto, Agrigento Province. Beyond that, the fictional person by that name bears no relation to the actual person, and none is intended. (Key Words: Sicily, Angelo F. Coniglio, Fiction, Novels, Ruotaia). Bookseller Inventory # 75553X6

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Lady Of The Wheel ( La Ruotaia ).

Publisher: Legas, Mineola

Publication Date: 2012

Binding: Softcover

Book Condition:New

Edition: Sicilian Studies Series - Volume XXIII.

Book Type: book

About this title


This is a story set in Racalmuto, Sicily in the late nineteenth century. As historical fiction, it deals with a heartbreaking aspect of parenting: the practice of of leaving unwanted children in a revolving door or wheel (ruota) of a church, hospital or foundling home, so that the children would be cared for or placed for adoption. In some towns, the receiver of foundlings was called 'la ruotara' or 'la ruotaia' (the lady of the wheel).  Even in hard times, its characters manage to find romance.  The book is fiction but based on documented facts, and has been critically compared to works of Giovanni Verga and Luigi Capuana, two 'verismo' authors of Sicilian literature & fiction.  (Questa è una storia ambientata in Racalmuto, Sicilia nel tardo Ottocento. Come romanzo storico, si tratta di un aspetto straziante della genitorialità: la pratica di lasciare gli bambini non desiderati in una porta girevole (o ruota) di una chiesa o brefotrifio  o casa di trovatelli, in modo che i bambini sarebbero stati curati o immessi per l'adozione.  In alcune città, la custode dei trovatelli è stata chiamata la 'ruotara' o la 'ruotaia'.   I personaggi della storia sono la povera famiglia di un 'zolfataio' o minatore di zolfo.  Anche in tempi difficili, i suoi personaggi riescono a trovare l'amore.  Il libro è finzione, ma basato su fatti documentati, ed è stato critico rispetto alle opere di Giovanni Verga e Luigi Capuana, due autori 'verismi' della letteratura e narrativa siciliana.)

From the Author:

In my retirement from engineering and teaching, I took up a search for my roots in Sicily.  The genealogical research I have done to identify my ancestors and those of Sicilian American friends exposed much about the lives of ordinary citizens of Sicily in the 1800s and early 1900s.  Finding an original record of an abandoned child who was taken in by a woman who herself had been a foundling inspired me to write this fictional story about a similar situation.

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