The Hartford Courant reports on how Professor of Psychology John Seamon became intrigued by a feat of memory achieved by local resident John Basinger, who decided in the late 1990s to celebrate the coming of the millennium by memorizing a poem – one that was more than 60,000 words long: John Milton’s Paradise Lost. Seamon, who is also a professor of neuroscience and behavior, studies memory and recall, among other subjects. He was amazed at Basinger’s ability to learn and recite the entire 12-book epic poem verbatim. He knew other researchers would be intrigued, as well, and Basinger agreed to sit for a battery of tests and queries. Basinger, a retired local educator, said that he committed the poem to memory an hour a day while working out at a local gym. He needed somewhere between “3,000 to 4000 hours” to get Paradise Lost completely memorized.
Basinger is the husband of Jeanine Basinger, Chair and Corwin Fuller Professor of Film Studies.