Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Which witch?: Morgan le Fay as shape-shifter and English perceptions of magic reflected in Arthurian legend
by Oliver, Cheyenne, M.A., Florida Atlantic University, 2015, 105; 10096028
Abstract (Summary)

Descended from Celtic goddesses and the fairies of folklore, the literary character of Morgan le Fay has been most commonly perceived as a witch and a one-dimensional villainess who plagues King Arthur and his court, rather than recognized as the legendary King’s enchanted healer and otherworldly guardian. Too often the complexity of Morgan le Fay and her supernatural abilities are lost, her character neglected as peripheral. As a literary figure of imaginative design this thesis explores Morgan le Fay as a unique “window” into the medieval mindset, whereby one can recover both medieval understandings of magic and female magicians. By analyzing her role in key sources from the twelfth to fifteenth century, this thesis uses Morgan le Fay to recover nuanced perceptions of the supernatural in medieval England that embraced the ambiguity of a pagan past and remained insulated from continental constructions of demonic witchcraft.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Lowe, Ben
School: Florida Atlantic University
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: MAI 55/04M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Folklore, Womens studies, Medieval history, British and Irish literature
Keywords: Celtic folklore, Witchcraft, gender, and sexuality, Witchcraft, magic, and medieval England, Women and Arthurian legend, Women and magic, le Fay, Morgan
Publication Number: 10096028
ISBN: 9781339601847