About Mitchell Kalpakgian

Dr. Mitchell A. Kalpakgian (1941-2018) was a Senior Contributor at The Imaginative Conservative and was Professor of English at Simpson College (Iowa) for thirty-one years. During his academic career, he received many academic honors, among them the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar Fellowship (Brown University, 1981); the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship (University of Kansas, 1985); and an award from the National Endowment for the Humanities Institute on Children's Literature.

Chaucer & the Heresy of Courtly Love

By |2019-07-28T21:18:35-05:00July 28th, 2019|Categories: Geoffrey Chaucer, Great Books, Literature, Love, Mitchell Kalpakgian, Senior Contributors, Timeless Essays|

With consummate sophistication, courtly love idealizes the vice of lust as a beautiful sentiment and spiritual longing that only the so-called holy gift of “love” can satisfy. Chaucer’s satire on innovative theories of marriage and the heresy of courtly love validates the wisdom of the Church’s teaching on hierarchy, fidelity, and indissolubility. Today’s offering in [...]

The Old-Fashioned Art of Visiting

By |2019-02-17T10:16:46-06:00February 17th, 2019|Categories: Civil Society, Culture, Literature, Mitchell Kalpakgian, Timeless Essays|

Social visits are done for their own sake, for disinterested reasons, for the pleasure of others, and as a gracious act of thoughtfulness that dignifies both the visitor and the visited... Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords our readers the opportunity to join Mitchell Kalpakgian, as he ponders the lost art of "visiting," [...]

The Family & the Orchard: The Story of Civilization in the “Odyssey”

By |2021-04-29T15:55:24-05:00September 20th, 2018|Categories: Family, Homer, Love, Mitchell Kalpakgian, Odyssey|

The planting of trees in the orchard—the passing down of tradition, of the moral wisdom of the past, of the torch of life, and of the beauty of life’s simplest but richest and pleasures—produces the great harvest of joy that culminates in the final chapters of the "Odyssey." Editor’s Note: Imaginative Conservative Senior Contributor Mitchell Kalpakgian passed [...]

The Light of Gerard Manley Hopkins in the Dark Victorian World

By |2020-07-27T16:50:53-05:00September 13th, 2018|Categories: Christianity, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Literature, Mitchell Kalpakgian, Poetry|

In the dark, melancholic, skeptical background of Victorian England, Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poetry presents an image of God as a prolific Creator, loving Father, and consummate Artist who blesses man with abundant gifts of beauty to inspire and uplift the heart and soul. In the Victorian Age, the spirit of the times caused a crisis [...]

Proper Matches, Romantic Elopements, & True Love in Jane Austen’s Novels

By |2018-09-04T22:21:36-05:00September 4th, 2018|Categories: Fiction, Happiness, Jane Austen, Literature, Love, Marriage, Mitchell Kalpakgian|

Jane Austen’s heroines live, choose, and marry according to the highest wisdom about love that is ruled by principle, not convention—by the prudent mind, pure heart, and informed conscience rather than by the false prudence of the world preoccupied by money, image, lust, or self-interest… Readers of Jane Austen’s novels recognize the plot that informs [...]

Utopian Fantasies vs. Real Happiness in Samuel Johnson’s “Rasselas”

By |2018-08-31T22:40:41-05:00August 31st, 2018|Categories: Culture, Fiction, Happiness, Jonathan Swift, Literature, Mitchell Kalpakgian|

In Samuel Johnson’s novel Rasselas, the eponymous character discovers that happiness does not derive from a beautiful place, luxurious palace, or constant entertainment, but depends upon a composed state of mind in possession of truth… Throughout the eighteenth century novel theories of happiness and utopian ideas of perfect societies gained respectability and popularity. The exploration [...]

Conscience in Montaigne’s “Essays” & Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”

By |2018-08-23T10:33:20-05:00August 22nd, 2018|Categories: Ethics, Evil, Mitchell Kalpakgian, Morality, William Shakespeare|

Despite the number of times the witches repeat “Fair is foul, and foul is fair,” Macbeth testifies to the objectivity of natural law and universal knowledge of good and evil known to conscience and written on the heart and mind of all persons... In the culture of sixteenth-century Europe that witnessed revolutions in geography with old [...]

Chaucer & the Heresy of Courtly Love

By |2019-06-05T16:26:19-05:00August 15th, 2018|Categories: Culture, Geoffrey Chaucer, Great Books, Literature, Love, Marriage, Mitchell Kalpakgian|

Chaucer’s satire on innovative theories of marriage and the heresy of courtly love validates the wisdom of the Church’s teaching on hierarchy, fidelity, and indissolubility. The great books or classics of Western civilization reflect the enduring ideals and universal truths that represent a Perennial Philosophy, that is, the sum of the world’s accumulated wisdom over [...]

“Radical Marriage” & the Modern Heresies of Love

By |2020-07-21T13:57:20-05:00August 1st, 2018|Categories: Feminism, Literature, Love, Marriage, Mitchell Kalpakgian|

In “The Awakening of Miss Prim,” the title character’s awakening and education in the most natural ways of friendship illuminate for her the great wisdom and tradition of marriage, which modern education and ideology in their blatant ignorance have relegated to the past as a useless, unnecessary institution. In Natalie Fenollera Sanmartin’s bestseller The Awakening of [...]

The Art of Beautification: The Graces of Ordinary Life

By |2019-11-21T13:22:24-06:00July 11th, 2018|Categories: Art, Beauty, Literature, Virtue|

The beautification of life, the highest “household art” of making people happy and places pretty, also encompasses the adornment of the soul. Because life is more than work, economics, and money, the life of the heart and spirit need constant replenishment… What do decorating a room, wearing tasteful clothes, expressing cheerfulness, offering friendship, enjoying Mayday, [...]

Fanaticism: Distorting Humanity?

By |2018-12-21T07:18:10-06:00March 12th, 2018|Categories: Featured, G.K. Chesterton, Ideology, Jane Austen, St. Augustine, St. John Henry Newman, Timeless Essays|

In his narrow pursuit of one ruling idea, the fanatic ignores the greater world surrounding him and blinds himself to the rest of reality… Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords our readers the opportunity to join Mitchell Kalpakgian as he explores the nature of the fanatic and how fanaticism is incompatible with truth. —W. [...]

The Denial of the Natural Order

By |2019-03-11T14:42:27-05:00February 3rd, 2017|Categories: Modernity, Order, William Shakespeare|

Without a natural order on which to build, the religious order has no solid foundation on which to teach charity, enrich culture, or refine civilization. Without the cardinal virtues in place, the theological virtues will not follow… “The fundamental heresy of our day is perhaps the denial of the natural order, of the very foundations [...]

Flannery O’Connor’s Hollow Men

By |2019-05-16T11:49:47-05:00August 2nd, 2016|Categories: Flannery O'Connor, Ideology, Morality|

Many of Flannery O’Connor’s stories portray the ineptness of men to uphold traditional ideals of manhood. The men show no leadership, they do not protect or care for their family members, they lack all manner of chivalry, and they lose a sense of priority as they commit to careers and professions or social and political [...]

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