"Not billed the Cockney Venus for nothing"
Venus de Milo
GNU Free Documentation LicenseVenus de Milo - Credit: Shawn Lipowski

Venus was an important Roman goddess symbolising love, beauty and fertility.  The Latin roots of the name mean both 'love' and 'sexual desire'.  In more recent years, Venus has come to epitomise femininity as illustrated in the title of John Gray's book of relationship advice, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.  The title "Cockney Venus" symbolises Fevvers' future role as lover, temptress and paradigm for the women of the twentieth century.  It is a title which recurs regularly throughout the novel and sums up Carter's portrayal of Fevvers as the leading female star of the century.

There are further parallels; the planet Venus is the brightest star in the night sky (often called the Morning or Evening Star), just as Fevvers is the brightest star in Victorian London.  The Roman goddess Venus (named Aphrodite in Greek mythology) was said to have been born from the foam of the sea, whilst Fevvers claims to have been hatched from an egg and to have no human parents.  Finally, Aphrodite was the muse of Pygmalion, who created a statue in her image and named it Galatea.  The sculptor fell in love with his own statue and prayed to Aphrodite, who took pity on him and brought it to life - this classical myth inspired George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion, which in turn became the musical My Fair Lady.  Later in Nights at the Circus, the Grand Duke refers to Fevvers as 'Galatea' as he seeks to add her to his own collection of automata.