He Defied Soviets; Used Rosary Beads to Memorize Lines

Matt Lewis
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Posted: Aug 04, 2008 9:08 AM
The NYT has a very good profile up today on the life of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.  I found this paragraph to be, perhaps, the most amazing:

"At Ekibastuz, any writing would be seized as contraband. So he devised a method that enabled him to retain even long sections of prose. After seeing Lithuanian Catholic prisoners fashion rosaries out of beads made from chewed bread, he asked them to make a similar chain for him, but with more beads. In his hands, each bead came to represent a passage that he would repeat to himself until he could say it without hesitation. Only then would he move on to the next bead. He later wrote that by the end of his prison term, he had committed to memory 12,000 lines in this way. "