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I thought about something like your proposed translation. In one sense, it's clearly the best, because it accurately conveys the sense of the passage in question. (An example of how a non-literal translation can do more justice to the original than a technically faithful one). But, if I translated it that way, it would make Freud and Butler look even worse, because it would be odd to get the English 'begin' or 'commence their work' from something that sait 'go first' in the original. Or at least that was my thinking.

I should note that I wrote Butler had 'perpetuated' Freud's mistake, but the LRB changed it to 'repeated' (the only edit). I still like mine better, but perhaps the LRB thought the use of the stronger Latinate word implied that she had perhaps intentionally done so...

Academics and their pettifogging word games!!

rob owen

In the translation, I'd have gone with "...let the murderers go first," rather than "let the murderers begin," but maybe that's too informal for the source material. In any event, bravo, Andrew!

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