Re our post on memory this week, this from the WSJ:
The rapper “50 Cent” has written roughly 100 songs, with an average of about 60 lines apiece. Assuming that he can remember each of these perfectly, that makes for some 6,000 lines of text that he can recite from memory. Compare that to the Greek poet Homer. “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey” have a total of 27,803 lines -- and those are just the poems that made their way down to us. For another benchmark, take the guslar tradition of Serbia and Montenegro, in which medieval poets performed epic tales of the Slavs' struggle for independence. The tradition continued into the early 20th century, allowing scholars to meet some of the last guslars. One, an illiterate butcher named Avdo Mededovic, recalled an astonishing 58 epic tales. The scholars were able to record 78,555 lines of verse from 13 poems Mr. Mededovic recited to them. The total number from all 58 poems would likely have reached more than 350,000 lines.