Students use and develop their Italian language skills through Wesleyan’s study abroad program in Bologna, Italy, designed to complement the rigorous language curriculum offered on campus.
Foreign language enrollments at colleges and universities across the country have sharply declined in recent years, according to the Modern Language Association, yet language study at Wesleyan is holding quite strong.
Despite the fact that Wesleyan, unlike the vast majority of our peers, has no language requirement, 60 to 70% of Wes students choose to study a language other than English. The average student takes around three semesters of language classes, while approximately 30% go on to study at advanced levels and 13% study more than one language.
Wesleyan has stepped up to meet students’ interest in language study. With the addition of courses in Hindi-Urdu in Fall 2019, Wesleyan now offers full classroom instruction in 15 different languages—the most of any liberal arts college in the country, tied only with Wellesley College.
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Michael Armstrong-Roche, associate professor of romance languages and literatures, associate professor of medieval studies, is the author of Cervantes’ Epic Novel: Empire, Religion, and the Dream Life of Heroes in Persiles, published by the University of Toronto Press in May 2009.
New book by Michael Armstrong-Roche.
The 384-page study sets out to help restore Persiles to pride of place within Cervantes’s corpus by reading it as the author’s summa, as a boldly new kind of prose epic that casts an original light on the major political, religious, social, and literary debates of its era. At the same time it seeks to illuminate how such a lofty and solemn ambition could coexist with Cervantes’ evident urge to delight.
Grounded in the novel’s multiple contexts – literature, history and politics, philosophy and theology – and “in close reading of the text, Michael Armstrong-Roche aims to reshape our understanding of Persiles within the history of prose fiction and to take part in the ongoing conversation about the relationship between literary and non-literary cultural forms. Ultimately he reveals how Cervantes recast the prose epic, expanding it in new directions to accommodate the great epic themes – politics, love, and religion – to the most urgent concerns of his day.”