Mitchell Kalpakgian

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.

Fanaticism: Distorting Humanity?

By |2016-07-26T16:03:44-05:00July 26th, 2016|Categories: G.K. Chesterton, Ideology, Jane Austen, St. Augustine, St. John Henry Newman|

A fanatic is a person obsessed with one idea, a monomaniac ruled by one dominant compulsion that governs all his thoughts and actions. He is enslaved by one predominant passion that dictates all his motives and decisions. Ruled by revenge, Captain Ahab in Moby Dick is determined to hunt and kill the white whale that inflicted [...]

“Hard Times”: The Usefulness of Useless Things

By |2019-09-03T18:31:14-05:00May 14th, 2016|Categories: Character, Education, Featured, Literature, Poetry|

“The Child is father of the Man,” wrote William Wordsworth, marveling at the enchantment of the child’s early experience and delight in play. The formative period of childhood cultivates in the young a love of life, a sense of adventure, and an imaginative world filled with wonder. As the child in Stevenson’s A Child’s [...]

The Leisure of “Walden”

By |2020-01-03T15:47:08-06:00November 7th, 2015|Categories: Beauty, Conservation, Featured|

Walden Pond Even before the age of consumerism, overspending, and credit card debt, an American writer of the nineteenth century identified an economic problem that has proliferated and reached a point of crisis in the twenty-first century. Thoreau observes that the typical New England farmers of his day perform burdensome toil more [...]

Dr. Johnson: The Man of Letters Behind the Dictionary

By |2015-09-28T09:55:24-05:00September 6th, 2015|Categories: Books, Featured, History, Literature|Tags: |

James Boswell’s biography, The Life of Johnson, portrays a distinguished man of letters after whom a whole literary period was named: The Age of Johnson. To read of Johnson’s life (1709-1784) is to learn of an eminent man of learning whose love of literature, passion for truth, and genius for writing achieved extraordinary works of [...]

The Moral Wisdom of “Tanglewood Tales”

By |2019-01-15T15:21:33-06:00March 6th, 2015|Categories: Myth, Wisdom|Tags: |

In the Tanglewood Tales Nathaniel Hawthorne retells famous classical myths with imaginative charm that captures the universality and moral wisdom of the stories. Hawthorne’s lively, fresh retelling of six famous myths—“The Minotaur,” “The Pygmies,” “The Dragon’s Teeth,” “Circe’s Palace,” “The Pomegranate Seeds,” and “The Golden Fleece”—captures the essence of great stories that always possess, in Chesterton’s [...]

Matchmaking and Imagined Sentiments: Jane Austen’s Emma

By |2018-11-21T14:41:11-06:00January 15th, 2013|Categories: Jane Austen, Marriage|Tags: , |

What do matchmakers know that eludes the common man? What does the common man know that escapes the matchmakers? Austen’s novel Emma shows that true romance originates from equality of social background and education, compatibility of temperaments, similarity of moral ideals and manners, natural attraction based on reason and feeling, and mutual admiration. Matchmaking [...]

Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice”: A Book of Love & Marriage

By |2018-10-16T00:20:02-05:00August 26th, 2012|Categories: Books, Jane Austen, Marriage|Tags: , |

Jane Austen’s genius comprehends the subject of marriage and the book of love in all its intricacy, practicality, goodness, and mystery. Her novels center on the importance of marriage as one of life’s most important choices and life’s greatest source of happiness—“all the best blessings of existence” to use a phrase from Emma. In [...]