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Can we even eliminate "of which"?

The first of which was published in * and the last in *.

Source: History in the Plural: An Introduction to the Work of Reinhart Koselleck. https://books.google.com/books/about/History_in_the_Plural.html?id=I7o7KB3Hn8EC

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For reference, the sentence OP is referring to:

[...] consisting of 119 articles collected in 7 volumes, the first of which was published in 1972 and the last in 1992

In this case, it would be either the 119 articles or the 7 volumes mentioned beforehand. Logic and common sense would lead me to believe the author is referring to the 7 volumes, since it's the latest noun mentioned and makes more sense.

Here, "of which" is present to give the text some coherence and harmony, and I can't really think of a way to remove it without murdering the phrase. You could try:

[...] consisting of 119 articles collected in 7 volumes. The first one was published in 1972 and the last one in 1992.

But then again, I think the construction with "of which" gives more flow to the text.

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