(1) Energy from a Cultural Perspective; (2) Shakespeare Today; (3) The Education of Journalists; Review of A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole; (4) Commentary on Ambition

John Opie talks about the conflict between risk and security in the way Americans think about the energy crisis in the 1980s. He comments on the meaning and value of humanism, and suggests that a historian’s perspective might contribute to our understanding of, and finding solutions to, the energy crisis. John Agresto joins the discussion.

In the second segment [6:45], John Sisk discusses his career teaching and writing about Shakespeare and addresses the persistent influence of Shakespeare’s writings on attitudes toward love, sex, and marriage.

In the third segment [11:13], Terry Eastland, Hugh Holman, and Vermont Royster exchange views on the state of journalism education and the value of journalism schools.

In the episode’s fourth segment [19:45], Kent Mullikin reviews John Kennedy Toole’s 1981 Pulitzer Prize–winning novel A Confederacy of Dunces.

Concluding the program [26:00], William Bennett comments on American young people, contemporary attitudes, and the importance of ambition.

At the time of this interview, Opie, a Fellow at the National Humanities Center (1980-81) and a participant in seminar “Energy and the Values of Modern Society,” was professor of environmental history at Duquesne University. Agresto, a Fellow at the Center (1978-79) was special projects director at the Center.

Sisk was professor of English at Gonzaga University.

Eastland was editor of the Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, VA). Holman, a trustee of the Center, was professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Royster, former editor of the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, was professor of journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Mullikin was assistant director of the Center.

Bennett was director of the Center.

This edition of Soundings was conducted by Wayne J. Pond.

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