Nabokov had the first inkling of what became The Original of Laura in 1973, but needed to finish Look at the Harlequins! (1974) and, driven by a sense of personal honor, revise and virtually rewrite the translation of Ada for his French publisher after his translator had a breakdown. At age 76, Nabokov’s intense work on the translation, from 5 A.M. each morning, drained him, as did, over the next two years, severe falls, operations, and infections. As a result he could not finish The Original of Laura before his death in 1977. Although he had asked his wife, Véra, to destroy the manuscript should it be left uncompleted, she could not bring herself to do so.