Monday, February 25, 2019

Jack Kerouac and 666 (UPDATED: 2-28-19)

At the top of my blog's dashboard when I have it on "All Posts," it was just reading 1-100 of 1666, which freaked me out a little bit because I am numerologically superstitious and you all know what 666 represents.

So I decided to publish this post, which effectively changed that number to 1-100 of 1667. But then I thought, what's the connection between Jack Kerouac and the number 666? As I've said many times, everything connects to Kerouac.

I'm not aware of any direct connections off the top of my head, so I turned to the Google machine and found that Gina Arnold wrote a book titled, Route 666: On the Road to Nirvana; in it she charts the journey from punk to grunge. In the abstract of a lecture she gave at a KISMIF conference about the topic, she used a Kerouac quote (click here). Yet there are two more connections. First, the title of her book includes the phrase "on the road," which most people associate with Kerouac. Second, 1/3 of the Beat triumvirate, William S. Burroughs, is widely acknowledged as an influence on punk and grunge music, so I suspect he is mentioned in Arnold's book.

Then there's this tangential connection from page 112 of Robert O'Brian's Jack Kerouac's Confession, in which Kerouac and the number 666 are mentioned in the same paragraph:

I'm pretty sure, given his Catholicism, that Kerouac was at least aware of the number 666 and its meaning. Whether he mentioned it in a novel or a journal or a letter will take someone with a better memory than mine or who has all of Kerouac's writings digitally searchable. Any takers?

P.S. Dave Moore, Kerouac scholar extraordinaire from the U.K., took me up on my offer and posted in the Facebook Kerouac group an excerpt from a Kerouac letter in which he mentions Route 666 (now U.S. Route 491). See comments below.

1 comment:

Rick Dale, author of The Beat Handbook said...

Comment from Dave Moore in the Facebook Kerouac group:

Kerouac, in a letter to his literary agent Sterling Lord, October 9, 1961. (Letter reproduced in Selected Letters, Vol.2) --
"Sterling, I feel that Route 666 and Al Zugsmith and all that represents the fact that my ideas are being lifted left and right, depriving me of maybe a million, and just between you and me being lifted by Jews, I should really subtitle Big Sur: Another Idea for the Jews to Steal -- But of course I wont -- dont wanta be blackballed -- "