Mary Lynn Saul
Phone: (508) 929-8709
B.S., M.A., Ph.D., Ohio State University
Area of Specialization
Medieval literature, History of the English Language, human rights, and Arthurian literature.
MaryLynn Saul is a Professor of English at Worcester State. She holds a B.S. in English and Spanish Education from The Ohio State University as well as a Ph.D. in English from the same institution.
She specializes in Arthurian literature, both modern and medieval and has published on both eras. In her article “Powerful Witches or Weak Damsels: Female Characters in Arthurian Films” she discusses the evolution of the female figures in Arthurian films from subservient women in the 1981 film Excalibur to strong characters in the 2001 television miniseries Mists of Avalon. Her latest article stems from her most recent project and is titled “Malory's Morgan le Fay: The Danger of Unrestrained Feminine Power.” The article concerns the portrayal of Morgan as a witch in Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte Darthur and her pursuit of power through her magical skills as a witch. Overall, the article explains that the idea of the witch has represented power relations (particularly between the genders) in society in the Middle Ages, and applies this definition of witch to Morgan.
Her current research plan is a book-length project on the character of Morgan le Fay in Malory’s Le Morte Darthur. The project takes a look at Morgan from three critical perspectives. The first is from the perspective of courtly love. Morgan participates in the two competing systems of patriarchal marriage practice and courtly love. Perspective two looks at Morgan from the lens of gender and power. Because of medieval men’s desire to control women, women who are controlled by men are portrayed as benevolent, while those who are not controlled by men are portrayed as malevolent. Thus, Morgan, who is not controlled by any man, or woman either, is generally viewed as malevolent. Finally, as discussed in the article above, the last view of Morgan is as a witch and the power that comes from this role.
Professor Saul teaches a wide variety of courses including her specialty Arthurian literature, as well as medieval literature, Chaucer, and History of the English Language. She also teaches Literature and Human Rights. She is also faculty advisor for the student group of Amnesty International. One of their recent events was the speech by Abdi Lidonde, founder of the Beverly School of Kenya, to benefit disadvantaged and marginalized children in Kenya.