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Bunker Hill Community College Culinary Professor Wins Award for Shakespeare Scholarship

Thursday, January 13, 2011

George R. Kelley, an assistant professor in Bunker Hill Community College’s culinary program, has won the Julia Child Award from Boston University for his master’s thesis “Seated at the Centaur’s Feast – Shakespeare’s Pathology of Consumption.” The award is given to students each year who have achieved outstanding scholarly work. Kelley was nominated by Professor Kenneth Albala, Visiting Professor of History from the College of the Pacific.

 For his thesis, Kelley, a graduate of BHCC who majored in English at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, first found and organized every reference to food and consumption in the 37 plays, 154 sonnets and three lyric poems of William Shakespeare. 

 “Consumption usually leads to the physical or spiritual ruin of a character,” Kelley said.  “This was consistent with the Christian beliefs of the time, the early 1600s.”  Kelley’s thesis covers the more familiar topics of Falstaff, who drinks and eats to excess, and the poisonings in Hamlet.  Shakespeare’s most powerful consumption scene, Kelley believes, is the end of Titus Andronicus when the queen, unaware, eats a pie baked from her own two sons.  Kelley first discovered Shakespeare at University of Massachusetts Lowell.  “I had thought Shakespeare was just Romeo and Juliet – love and passion,” Kelley said.  “But Titus Andronicus is a total upside-down world.  In no time, everyone is dead.  Nobody is left standing at the end.” 

To support himself while attending college, Kelley ran a catering company.  He explained that he continued on a culinary arts career without losing his passion for Shakespeare.  “I’ve always been a Shakespeare fanatic.  The two lines of my interest just converged for my master’s thesis,” Kelley said. 

Media Contact:
Karen M. Norton, Executive Director of Integrated Marketing and Communications
Bunker Hill Community College, Boston, MA 02129
Phone: (617) 228-2177; Email: kmnorton@bhcc.mass.edu