Literary Assassination

In the mid 1970's, Basil Payne lectured at various colleges and universities in the USA, including Rutgers and the University of California. But after 1979, promised lecureships failed to materialise. It was not until 1982, when an American friend advised him to take legal action against Robert Hogan for defamation of character, that he became aware of the extremely destructive and apparently malicious literary assassination, which his entry (by an anonymous author) in The Dictionary of Irish Literature amounts to. Robert Hogan is the editor of this work, which remains the standard reference work on Irish writers, twenty three years after its original publication.

For various reasons, mainly financial (it costs a considerable amount to mount a legal case), Basil Payne did not take legal action, and the apparently malicious literary hatchet job remains unchallenged in a legal arena.

To allow visitors to this site to arrive at their own conclusions, and for the purpose of a critical review, the entry from The Dictionary of Irish Literature is cited here, in part. Bold emphasis has been added by the webmaster of this site, to point out particularly defamatory sections, to which Basil Payne's biographical record, widespread inclusion in anthologies, and literary achievements give the lie - see the relevant sections of this web site.

From the Dictionary of Irish Literature (1979), ed. Robert Hogan:

PAYNE, BASIL (1928-), poet.
...He is an easily understood and undemanding writer whose work seems to have moved from conventional form and somewhat pedestrian statement to what is not so much poetry as language to be recited. The work in his most recent volume, Another Kind of Optimism (1974), sometimes resorts to the primary devices of poetry, rhyme and meter, but the pieces are basically inflated epigrams or squashed essays. If his longer pieces are difficult to defend and tend to sink into the banal, the shorter ones are somethimes arresting, and practically all of them have a conversational fluency. Thus far, his work does not have enough form or wit to be important light verse, but it is not unpleasant entertainment.