Author: Simon Chater

Simon Chater is a writer, editor and translator based near Buckfastleigh, in Devon. He is the founding director of Green Ink, a science communication company (www.greenink.co.uk). Simon has written and/or edited many publications, mostly on agriculture and natural resources in the developing world.

Dante’s Divine Comedy: tasting notes 7 – seduction by literature

Simon Chater
Rodin's 'The Kiss'

Among the carnal sinners in the second circle of hell, we meet Paolo and Francesca. Of all the stories in the Inferno, theirs is perhaps the one that most invites our empathy: the seventh of Simon Chater’s dips into Dante. Dante’s scene-setting is a powerful example of contrapasso ­– the idea that the punishment should […]

Dante’s Divine Comedy: tasting notes 5 – the gate of hell

Simon Chater
gateway to Hell

Led by Virgil, Dante sets out on his journey. At the entrance to hell he sees these words inscribed over a dark gateway: The famous line here is the last, wryly quoted today in many a workplace and home. The absence of hope is the defining feature of hell, as anyone stuck in a dead-end […]

Dante’s Divine Comedy: tasting notes 4

Simon Chater
Dante's Inferno colour plate from early edition

Enter Virgil, voice of reason Continuing his series of dips into Dante, Simon Chater begins the descent into hell and finds some interesting parallels between Dante’s Florence and the world in 2022. Reason, sweet reason! How we – or some of us, at least – long for you in the age of Brexit, Trumpism and […]

Rewilding comes to a Devon valley

Simon Chater

Local environmental charities are working to increase Devon’s tree populations. Simon Chater was delighted to take part. For nearly 40 years I’ve lived in an old farmhouse in one of the loveliest spots in the South West – the valley of the Holy Brook, a tributary of the Dart. A livestock farmer sold me the […]

Dante’s Divine Comedy: tasting notes 1 – the dark wood

Simon Chater

1. The Dark Wood Dante is at once the most influential and the most neglected of Europe’s poets. Since the early 14th century, when he wrote, he has inspired countless other writers in almost every European language, yet today he has few readers outside academia and Italy. In this series of commentaries written to mark […]

Hooray! We are taking back control…of GM

Simon Chater

The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. There are precious few upsides to Brexit, but here’s one. We’re coming out of the EU’s dysfunctional system for regulating genetically modified (GM) crops! What do we know? It’s a quarter of a century since the first GM crop, a tomato modified to prolong its […]

“Brexit and Fascism: heed the warning signs while you still can, Mr Mangnall” – a constituent writes to his MP

Simon Chater

Anthony Mangnall M.P. House of Commons London SW1A 0AA                                                                  26 October 2020 Dear Mr Mangnall I’m writing this open letter to you in reply to yours of 27 July 2020, which reprimands me for calling Brexit out as a “resurgence of the disease of fascism”.   Be in no doubt: that’s exactly what Brexit is. […]