"BEHOLD! THE MYSTERY STIRRING": SIGNED LIMITED FIRST EDITION OF MAN DEAD? THEN GOD IS SLAIN!, ONE OF ONLY 26 COPIES SIGNED BY RAY BRADBURY AND ARTIST HANS BURKHARDT
(BURKHARDT, Hans) BRADBURY, Ray. Man Dead? Then God Is Slain! A Celebration By Ray Bradbury. With Illustrations By Hans Burkhardt. Northridge: Santa Susana Press, 1977. Original gray portfolio (12 by 16 inches), original red morocco label, original ivory leaves loose as issued, uncut. $3800.
Signed limited first edition, entirely withheld from sale, number 18 of only 26 copies signed by Ray Bradbury and award-winning artist Hans Burkhardt, featuring Bradbury's poem and five prints signed and numbered by Burkhardt, together on ten folio leaves of elegant Arches paper.
In 1977, the year Bradbury authored this poem, he also expressed "his views on God and religion in an article, 'The God in Science Fiction'… God in Bradbury's vision is radically immanent in creation but needs man to understand and see himself, to grow" (Eller and Touponce, eds. Ray Bradbury, 19). In Man Dead? Then God Is Slain! Bradbury powerfully voices his sense of God as having "dreamed Man into being… My Universe needs seeing, That's Man's eternal task… Man and God, conjoining, Are One."
This handsome signed limited edition is one of only 26 copies, with none offered for sale. The exquisite printing of Bradbury's poem in Baskerville on three folio leaves of Arches paper is accompanied by five folio prints, also on Arches, each print signed and numbered by its Swiss-born artist, Hans Burkhardt, who has been called "Goya's spiritual heir." Art historian Donald Kuspit regards Burkhardt, early influenced by Arshile Gorky, as "a master—indeed, the inventor—of the abstract momento mori" (Estate of Hans Burkhardt). Two years before his death in 1994 Burkhardt was awarded a lifetime achievement award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. "This portfolio was presented to the author, the artist, and to friends of the University as a gift from the Library." The poem was also separately "printed and distributed to students of California State University, Northridge." It later was included in Bradbury's Chapbook for Burnt-Out Priests. Rabbis and Ministers (2001). Bradbury's article, "The God in Science Fiction," appeared in the Saturday Review (December 10, 1977); it was issued as an offprint by Susana Press in 1978. Not in Currey.