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Post Honoring Stanley Payne, Hispanist Extraordinaire
Created by John Eipper on 09/19/22 3:23 AM

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Honoring Stanley Payne, Hispanist Extraordinaire (Consoly Leon Arias, Spain / Canary, 09/19/22 3:23 am)

On Wednesday, September 14th, a tribute to Stanley Payne was held at the Colegio Mayor San Pablo Ceu Auditorium in Madrid. It was to honor a lifetime dedicated to researching and disseminating the true history of Spain.

The event highlighted his professional career and, therefore, his sixty years dedicated to researching and writing about the history of Spain.

An avowed Hispanophile, Stanley landed in Spain as a doctoral student on a research project. During his stay in our country, Professor Payne was fascinated not only with the history of Spain, but also with its people--undoubtedly, the main capital this great country treasures.

For Stanley, Hispanophilia was not something assumed from books, or the result of a brief exotic trip, but something learned through long personal experience.

Regarding his research, Stanley's aim has always been to tell the truth as objectively as possible. This is evident in any of his publications. He uses authentic references to discover an objective history of Spain.

According to Stanley's view, Spanish reality was not exactly as he had originally believed, because he had the distorted perspective of someone who had not penetrated beyond the surface. It would be necessary to point out things that he was discovering and that, possibly, would not please some.

Our illustrious WAIS colleague has repeatedly pointed out the misrepresentation to which the history of Spain has fallen victim on numerous occasions, even more than that of any other country in the West.

According to the Texas-born historian, one of the great problems of history, and especially that of Spain, is the question of perspective, context and comparison. The perspective with which the history of Spain is judged is too restricted, partial, even inauthentic.

Stanley considers it a great blessing to have lived in Spain in what is probably one of the two most extraordinary periods in the long history of the country. He arrived in Spain less than twenty years after the end of the Civil War, and was able to experience in situ the last stage of traditional society and culture, as well as the transformation of Franco's regime and the definitive modernization of the country, which had been pending for generations.

Subsequently, he witnessed the Transition period, years in which Spaniards wanted to live in peace, and in which an incipient democracy began to take shape. Finally, he experienced life in democracy, the so-called welfare state, and stability. It was an era interrupted by the new political polarization and the jihadist attacks in Madrid on March 11, 2004--two factors that inaugurated the new era in which we live and which will continue, it seems, for some time to come. An era marked by the resolution of great challenges and historical problems, marked by the misnamed Law of Historical Memory of 2007. It was a real insolence on the part of President Zapatero, towards a society which had managed to bury old grudges, and to make possible a state of harmony. The Law of Democratic Memory restricts the rights and freedoms of the Spanish people.

I consider Stanley the best Hispanist of recent times. I am a fervent reader of his work, thanks originally to my high school teachers.

Stanley's work and dedication to spreading the true history of my homeland makes me feel deeply proud of both my country and its history. It is a history many have demonized, criticized and manipulated at will, simply out of envy.

After having the pleasure of interviewing him a few months ago for the magazine in which I collaborate, I discovered an intellectual deeply grateful to the Spaniards he has had the opportunity to meet and work with, whom he describes as generous, friendly and cordial, and to whom he dedicates his work, since it has been largely the result of this collaboration.

From these lines, I would like to reiterate to Professor Payne his dedication to make known the real history of Spain, which is far from the distorted image that others have invented to discredit the patriotic deeds.

JE comments:  Stanley Payne has been a steadfast WAISer for many years, although I "met" him only once, at a virtual event last year.  Among other reasons, I am very grateful for his continued financial support of our beloved organization.  Stanley has also been an academic inspiration to several generations of Hispanists, including fellow WAISers Sasha Pack and Anthony Candil.

For more on the Madrid homenaje, click below:


Congratulations and good health to you, Stanley!  I would be honored if you would send a greeting for publication on the Forum.  And a happy belated birthday--I just cheated and saw that your cumpleaños was on September 9th.

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  • Greetings to WAISdom (Stanley Payne, USA 09/20/22 3:33 AM)

    Thank you for the birthday greetings as I reach an age I once could not
    have imagined (88), and thanks also to Consoly León Arias for her generous words
    concerning the "homenaje" ceremony in Madrid, which I was unable to
    attend. It was planned in recognition of my work as a Hispanist, though
    nowadays Americans seem to know me or refer to me more as a
    fascistologist, a specialty suddenly in journalistic demand thanks
    to both Trump and his enemies, both of whom are reckless in the way they
    throw language around.

    Thanks also to to you for your attentive and gracious work managing
    WAIS. The invasion of Ukraine has shown WAIS at its best with original
    and incisive commentary, particularly from Cameron Sawyer. Sorry that I
    normally don't have the time to contribute, but on that theme I have
    little to add.

    Keep up the good work and all the best.

    JE comments:  Prof. Payne (I feel too bashful to call you Stanley), I am grateful and flattered.  It's an honor to have you aboard the Goodship WAIS!  I presume you receive a lot of (unsolicited) requests from the media for comments on how the Franco era relates to the current political drama in the US.  My first thought is "not at all," but some alarmists are warning us about a possible armed insurrection, especially if Trump is prosecuted.  Do you see any meaningful parallels?

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