Analysis Of Peter Taylor 's ' Venus, Cupid, Folly And Time Tells The Tale Of An Odd Brother

Analysis Of Peter Taylor 's ' Venus, Cupid, Folly And Time Tells The Tale Of An Odd Brother

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Peter Taylor’s short story Venus, Cupid, Folly and Time tells the tale of an odd brother-sister duo, Alfred and Louisa Dorset, who reside in the small, presumably southern, town of Mero. From the very beginning, readers are led to believe that the Dorsets are more than just brother and sister – they are lovers. Several occurrences throughout the story hint at a depraved relationship, however the story offers no firm confirmation of an incestuous relationship actually occurring. Despite their peculiarities, Mr. and Miss Dorset seem to have a great deal of influence on the social traditions of the town, the most important one being the annual party they host for the young children in the community. These parties are exclusive events that only the children of the socially elite are invited to. As such, these parties seem to be an indication of the social order of the town, with the Dorsets acting as the unlikely social arbiters. Venus, Cupid, Folly and Time is a subtle examination of upper-class life, in which Peter Taylor uses the Dorsets’ seemingly incestuous relationship as a symbol for the greater idea of “social incest.” Furthermore, the Dorset’s fall from the top of the social ladder ultimately brings about the end of social incest in Mero.
Alfred and Louisa Dorsets’ relationship is not literally incestuous; that is, they are not lovers. Rather, their seemingly incestuous relationship is symbolic of a much larger societal characteristic – a type of incest defined in much more expansive terms. Mr. and Miss Dorset engage in a different brand of incest known as “social incest.” Simply put, social incest is the inclination to only marry within one’s own class. In an interview with Barbara Davis, Peter Taylor acknowled...


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...om Mero and marries and outsider, effectively illustrating that the ideals of social incest no longer have a hold over the residents of Mero.
Venus, Cupid, Folly and Time is an intelligent and indirect social analysis by Peter Taylor. Taylor illustrates an apparently incestuous relationship between brother and sister pair Alfred and Louisa Dorset. Upon further examination, however, it becomes clear that the story is actually Peter Taylor commenting on the society in which he was raised; a society characterized by shallowness and incest, though a brand of incest on a larger scale known as “social incest.” Taylor uses the Dorsets’ incestuous relationship as a symbol for social incest. The story goes on to show the Dorsets’ fall from the top of the social ladder, which effectively ends the advancement of social incest in Mero.

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