- Dr. Mitchell Kalpakgian
- Visiting Fellow
Mitchell Kalpakgian, a native of New England, is the son of Armenian immigrants whose father escaped the Armenian genocide of 1915. He is fluent in the language and attends the Holy Cross Armenian (Eastern rite) Catholic Church in Massachusetts. A student of the whole field of literature rather than a specialist, he has been offering classes in English and Literature for the past fifty years, teaching a variety of courses on major authors like Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Milton and period courses in areas like Great Books, Renaissance literature, eighteenth century literature, and the English novel. Semi-retired, he currently teaches both on the college and secondary level. He is the father of five children and ten grandchildren. A former marathon runner who competed in ten races, he continues to enjoy swimming and jogging as favorite exercises and coached recreational soccer for many years. In addition to a love of athletics his favorite pastimes include cooking and writing. A recent interest that has inspired both his teaching and writing is children’s literature. After going to graduate school in the Midwest and teaching in Iowa for thirty-one years, he returned to New England in 2000. He compares the teaching of literature to a host preparing a banquet and offering what Matthew Arnold called “the best that has been thought and said.” He views literature as a treasury of the accumulated wisdom of the entire human race, and he is most fond of Dr. Johnson’s statement on the timeless value of great literature: “The only end of writing is to enable the readers better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.” His favorite poets are George Herbert, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and Robert Frost; his favorite novels are Anna Karenina, Tom Jones, and Pride and Prejudice; and his favorite plays are A Midsummer Night’s Dream, King Lear, and The Tempest.