World record for memorizing text

Hello everyone,

This is my first post. I am currently trying to memorize some Shakespeare using the method of loci. It’s fun.

Are there any established world records on memorizing texts that you know off?

There used to be a poetry event at the WMSC events. The records are here:

There is still a poetry event at the USA Memory Championships:

I don’t know of other records, but maybe someone else here does.

Katherine He set the USA record last year for the Poetry event with a score of 335. You get one point for each correct word, capital letter, and punctuation mark. 15 minutes of memorizing, 30 minutes of replication. Words must be spelled correctly to be judged correct. And two errors in any given line score zero points for the line.

Memory competitons are cool, but I am more into learning long text or entire books by heart. Are there any such records or notable feats?

The techniques are the same as a memory competition, but you get a lot more time to build your images, so they can be as memorable as you need. You’ll have to review them quite often, though. You’ll find that memorizing an entire book by heart, though, is quite a task, and not nearly as helpful as you might think. Better is to summarize often and remember the key facts. Even actors memorizing a script don’t try to create images for every single word…they use images to remind them of the idea behind a certain line, then depend on repetition of review to nail down the exact words.

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Thank you tracym!

The reason I want to learn a book bu heart is not for its usefulness. I realize that it’s much better to learn key concepts for study and exams. I just like to be able to recite that’s all.

There are people here who have memorized Dante’s Divine Comedy (also here), and Hamlet. There’s also a story about someone who memorized Paradise Lost.

I was trying to find an answer to this question, and came across this page:

The Guinness Book of Records of 1985 has this entry:
Human memory: Bhandanta Vicitsara (sic) recited 16000 pages of Buddhist cannocial texts in Rangoon, Burma in May 1954. Rare instances of eidetic memory the ability to project and hence “usually” recall material are known to science.

(I don’t think there is any photographic memory known to science.)

It mentions 2.4 million words:

It is an oral and written examination lasting thirty-three days. The candidate is examined in the three Pitakas: Vinaya, Sutta and Abhidhamma. The oral examination in the Vinaya covers five volumes in five books comprising 2260 pages. In the Sutta, the oral examination covers three volumes in the three books comprising 782 pages and in Abhidhamma covers seven volumes in twelve books comprising 4941 pages. The oral examination on these 7983 pages or about 2.4 million words is not a viva voce, a question and answer examination. It is an examination on total recall and faultless reproduction. The candidate will be given a point in the Pali Cannon at any point, and asked to continue reciting from there, line by line, paragraph and page by page. Or he would be given a point and asked to go back from there a certain number of sections and to recite from there, There must be no error in the word form, the pronunciation must be correct, the flow must be smooth and the enunciation must demonstrate the proper understanding of the meaning of the passage being recited. A certain number of pages of text must be covered in a fixed time. A candidate who requires prompting for five or more times fails.

Here’s his Wikipedia page.

If anyone knows more about that feat, leave a comment below. :slight_smile:

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Well. It probably not a controlled experiment. Learning 2.4 millions words for faultess recitation seems wild, but I dunno…