Lana Del Rey’s “Off to the Races” and Its Allusions to Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita

Sindhy Sintya Mianani


No matter the era, ones always relate to the popular media whether it is literary words, song lyrics or movies. Yet, sometimes ones do not recognize the reference from a particular textual discourse swirling around them. From this premise,   Lana Del Rey’s “Off to the Races” is deemed as the perfect example of this issue. Lana Del Rey’s “Off to the Races” is an intriguing song, for its lyrics are said to have some relations to Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita. For her adaptation on Nabokov’s Lolita, Del Rey has been attacked for ostensible discrepancies on who Lolita really is. Thus, this study attempts to prove the relation between Lana Del Rey’s “Off to the Races” to Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita through Julia Kristeva’s theoretical ideas on intertextuality. The discussion of this study indicates that, indeed, there is a relation between Lana Del Rey’s “Off to the Races” to Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita. The lyrics of “Off to the Races” contains several lines and phrases indicating that Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita plays important role in its meanings. However, the some adaptations and reversal of the relationship between Lolita and Humbert in “Off to the Races” brings an entirely altered meaning to the song than the meaning in the original text.

Keywords: intertextuality, lyrics, Lolita.



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  Journal of Language and Literature - Department of English Letters, Universitas Sanata Dharma, Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

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