Divine Recall

One of the most marvelous feats of recent times was performed in August, 1897, at Sondrio, capital of the Valtellina district, in the northern part of Italy, by Signor Edoe, professor in the Institution di Lorenzo, who, on a wager, repeated from memory, and without making a single mistake, the whole of Dante’s immortal poem, ‘Divina Commedia,’ which consists of nearly one hundred cantos, an amount of matter about equal to the number of words contained in the New Testament. The feat occupied about twenty-four hours in its accomplishment, lasting from 6 p.m. on one day until 2 p.m. the following day. It was achieved in the presence of a committee of associate professors and literary men, who, at about midnight, divided into two parties, alternately sleeping and listening until the recitation was finished, the text being carefully followed by prompters during the whole time, all in order that there might be no question as to the genuineness of the performance. This feat was accomplished after a preparation that was comparatively short, considering the great length of the poem, and is perhaps the most wonderful exhibition of verbal recollection in recent times.

— Henry H. Fuller, The Art of Memory, 1898