Denise M Taylor

Writing Consultant I Editor I Proofreader

Travel writing often ends up being fantasy. The idea of the writer-artist as an independent traveller embodies a romantic notion that the source of his or her inspiration is an unrestrained inner life. English travel writer, Bruce Chatwin (1940-89,) was a post-Vietnam-War traveller, content to travel alone and live in ‘native’ standards of comfort. His writing style is as intoxicatingly […]

The famous literary Brontë family lived in Haworth Parsonage, Yorkshire, between 1820 and 1861. Their austere grey-stone home, surrounded by dark-green trees, prickly hedges and bleak moors, is infused with gothic imaginations. Even though it is now the Brontë Parsonage Museum, and nothing can be touched, this is a place where astonishing art was created by three sisters. I imagine […]

These days, it is cool to poo-poo the pursuit of beauty in art, but avant-garde writers and artists in late-nineteenth-century Europe, particularly in the hedonistic capital of France, celebrated the power of beauty to transform the beholder. English literary genius, Oscar Wilde, was notorious as the witty spokesman of Aestheticism and its bold declaration that art should be independent from […]

Categories: Musings on Art

It takes courage for writers to ‘go out on a limb’ in order to develop, and commit to, an individual writing style that satisfies readers. On 9 March 1895, H. G. Wells, English writer and commentator, wrote a review in the ‘Saturday Review’ of Grant Allen’s controversial novel, ‘The Woman Who Did’: “The whole book … is strenuous without strength, […]

A sense of timelessness pervades the circuit walk at Stourhead garden in Wiltshire, England. This is a sublime place of beauty where nature has become art, ordered and arranged by humans. The last time I experienced this eighteenth-century landscape garden was on 28 October 2012 when rain tumbled softly, unhurried in the calm weather. Autumn colours were heightened by the […]

Categories: Musings on Art

Written in his passionate and robust style, Lord Byron described the majesty of Rome’s Pantheon (“pride of Rome!”) in his lengthy narrative poem, ‘Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage’ (1812-1818): Simple, erect, severe, austere, sublime— Shrine of all saints and temple of all gods, From Jove to Jesus—spared and blest by time; Looking tranquility, while falls or nods Arch, empire, each thing round […]

Categories: Musings on Art

For most of us, Christmas takes us back to our childhood: Christmas stories, dressing up as Mary or Joseph or the shepherds (with a tea-towel head covering) in the kinder nativity pageant, family gatherings indulging in traditional Christmas food, leaving out milk and cookies for Santa Claus, the Christmas tree and Christmas carols. Since the 1970s and the Vietnam War, […]

Categories: Musings on Art

The Romans gradually conquered the Greeks during the last two centuries B.C.; it was an epic confrontation—might against culture—but Rome could not remain immune to the beauty and sophistication of Hellenic art. Ancient Greek painting and mosaics have distinguishing features which the Romans borrowed and transformed into their own brand. This artistic ‘hybridisation’ by the Romans was an attempt to […]

Categories: Musings on Art

Writers control the pace and mood of their writing with punctuation; it’s an art. Commas, colons and semi-colons break a sentence into units of breath, offering the reader small chances to pause. But there is more to consider. Minimalist writer, Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961), used commas and semi-colons sparingly to create tension and maintain engagement with the narrative. Consider the final […]

Isabel Archer is a mesmerising character . . . her creator, Henry James, made her so by allowing the reader access to Isabel’s conscious thoughts. A paragraph in ‘The Portrait of a Lady’ (1881) is frequently longer than a page, but how can there be white space on a page if a setting needs visual detail, or if Isabel hasn’t […]