Polish is the language of a nation which, with its almost 40 million people today, is the largest ethnic group in Central Europe.
Its more than a thousand year long history, one extraordinary even by Central European standards, has included periods of political dominance and triumphs of the libertarian spirit intertwined with those of catastrophic defeats and subjugation to neighboring powers. Yet it is precisely this continuous facing of real or potential adversity that produced the incomparable cultural phenomenon which is Polish literature.
Often tragic but always witty, steeped in both the local and all-European tradition, yet daringly innovative, serving weighty causes and still self-ironic and irreverent, Polish literature boasts an astonishing number of fascinating figures. Renaissance and Baroque courtiers and country squires entertaining their friends with poems and tales, Catholic bishops writing caustic anti-conservative satires during the Age of Enlightenment, great Romantic bards and Positivist novelists of the nineteenth century whose pens were mightier than any swords, and the world famous poets, fiction writers, and playwrights of our times: all of them make studying Polish language and literature one great and highly rewarding intellectual adventure.
The Department offers two full years of Polish followed by special courses and tutorials depending on student interest. Study abroad is easily arranged through the Kosciuszko Foundation and other organizations.