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Born of Man and Woman Richard Matheson

Linocut by Vladimir Zimakov
Afterword by R.C. Matheson

A crushing, tragic masterpiece, “Born of Man and Woman” is the short story that introduced the world to Richard Matheson.

In the July 1950 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, readers were treated to the debut of a new twenty-three year old author who would soon become one of the titans of 20th century horror, science fiction and fantasy. Printed above the title was an editor’s note which read: “Mr. Richard Matheson lives in Brooklyn, is 23 years old, and has never published a story before. These simple, direct facts we can tell you about the author. Nothing so simple could be said of his story or the protagonist who tells it with a mind such as you have never met, housed in a body you have never imagined. Read on … and learn to know your not inconceivable kinsman.”

The tale of an uneducated and abused child chained in its parents’ cellar, “Born of Man and Woman” is the child’s internal diary, written in poignantly broken English. In just a few pages, Richard Matheson delivers a story packed with powerful imagery so haunting and heartbreaking, it is unforgettable. For years following its release, it would continue to be critically acclaimed as one of the prolific writer’s greatest of short stories and was selected in 1970 by the Science Fiction Writers of America as one of the best science fiction short stories published before the creation of the Nebula Awards. As such, it was published in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame Volume One, 1929-1964.

Matheson first submitted “Born of Man and Woman” to The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in December 1949. The magazine responded enthusiastically, with an interest in purchasing the story, provided that the publication lived to see its third issue. Editor Anthony Boucher wrote in his response letter, “We do hope that you will let us hold ‘Born’ and that it will be far from the last Matheson story we’ll publish.” 

Matheson replied: “Dear Mr. Boucher, I hope it won’t shock you to learn it is the first story I ever sold in my life. I have written for years, of course. I can only suggest that my lack of success, until now, has been due to a very limited effort at marketing my work.”

Within a year of publishing “Born of Man and Woman,” Matheson had nine more short stories published in various magazines, and by 1954 the author would publish his first novel, I Am Legend. Matheson would go on to publish countless short stories and novels, while adapting many of his works for film and television. In 1984, Matheson was awarded the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement, and in 1991 the Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement. 

But it all began with “Born of Man and Woman.” Frightening, mysterious and emotional, Matheson’s debut is as disturbing and deserving of praise today as it was nearly 75 years ago.

About The Edition

Our edition of Born of Man and Womanby Richard Matheson is limited to two hundred seventy-six copies and is presented in two states: Numbered & Lettered. The edition measures 5½” x 7½” and features a linocut illustration by Vladimir Zimakov, as well as an afterword by R.C. Matheson.

The edition is hand set in foundry Grotesque 6 from Stephenson Blake type foundry, Sheffield, England and is designed by Jerry Kelly. It is printed for Suntup Editions by John Grice at the Evergreen Press on an FAG Swiss Proof 40 in Gloucestershire, England. The Lettered state is printed on Barcham Green Dover handmade paper and the Numbered state is printed on Hahnemühle Gutenberg Laid. Barcham Green was a long-established company at the Hayle Mill in Kent where some of the finest printing papers were made. The paper used for our Lettered state is a making from 1982, just before the mill closed. These sheets were cleared on closure and stashed in a London warehouse until now by John Purcell Paper.

The engraving is printed from the linoleum block, and both states are signed by R.C. Matheson and Vladimir Zimakov.

The Numbered edition of 250 copies is printed letterpress on mouldmade Gutenberg Laid paper and is hand sewn into Barcham Green de Wint covers from a 1970s making. Each copy is bound by hand by the printer and is housed in a clamshell enclosure covered in Halflinnen with Brillianta cloth walls in a complimentary color, and a letterpress printed paper spine label. The edition is signed by R.C. Matheson and Vladimir Zimakov.

The Lettered edition is limited to 26 copies and is a full goatskin binding featuring haptic leather onlays across the front and back boards. The leather is sourced from J. Hewit & Sons; the historic leather merchant which was founded in 1823 and continues to manufacture the finest quality leathers for bookbinding. Head & tail bands are leather and the endsheets are paste papers handmade by Marie Kelzer for this edition.

The edition is housed in a clamshell enclosure covered in Dubletta cloth with suede lined floors and a leather spine label. This state is printed letterpress on Barcham Green Dover handmade paper. Barcham Green at the Hayle Mill in Kent was a long-established hand papermaker whose papers were considered amongst the very best. The papers used to print this edition were made in 1982, just before the mill closed. The edition is signed by R.C. Matheson and Vladimir Zimakov.

Born of Man and Woman Original Print

This limited edition print is an original impression, hand-pulled from the linocut engraving on Barcham Green Dover handmade paper from a 1982 making. This edition is numbered and limited to sixty-five prints signed by the artist. The print measures 9” x 11¾”. We will not be matching to book designations.

About the Author

Photograph by Beth Gwinn

Richard Matheson

Richard Matheson (1926-2013) is the author of many classic novels and short stories.  He wrote in a variety of genres including terror, fantasy, horror, paranormal, suspense, science fiction and western. In addition to books, he wrote prolifically for television (including The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery, Star Trek) and numerous feature filmsMany of Matheson’s novels and stories have been made into movies including I Am Legend, Somewhere in Time, The Shrinking Man and What Dreams May Come. His many awards include the World Fantasy and Bram Stoker Awards for Lifetime Achievement, the Hugo Award, Edgar Award, Spur Award for Best Western Novel, multiple Writer’s Guild awards, and in 2010 he was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.

About the Collaborators

R.C. Matheson

R.C. Matheson is a #1 bestselling author/screenwriter/producer The New York Times praises as a “great horror writer.” Acclaimed for dark, psychological stories, Stephen King calls his work “brilliant” and Clive Barker hails it as “masterly and devastating.” Matheson’s tales appear in 100 major anthologies, including 20 Year’s Best volumes, and his collections Scars And Other Distinguishing Marks, Zoopraxis and #1 bestseller Dystopia. His novels include Created By, The Ritual of Illusion and Paranoia. His work has been translated into multiple languages.

Vladimir Zimakov

Vladimir Zimakov is a Boston based artist, illustrator, printmaker and an Associate Professor of Art at Lasell University. He has illustrated books and designed book covers for the world’s leading publishing houses such as Penguin, Random House, Faber and Faber, the Folio Society, Vita Nova and Oxford University Press. His work has been exhibited in numerous solo and group shows in America and other parts of the world. He is actively involved in the book art and design community and regularly participates in artist book and printmaking events in the US and abroad.

Matching Numbers & Letters

A Matching Pre-Order email is sent to owners of our previous publication, Rebecca at 9:00 A.M. PT on the day of announcement. If you did not receive the email, contact us here. If your order is not received before the deadline, your designated number or letter will be assigned to the new owner.

Order Limits

Please be aware of the order limits for our editions. You can read more about this in the Order Limits article on our support site.

Published editions may differ slightly from mockups and prototype designs.
Photography by Yegor Malinovskii.
Illustration © 2023 by Vladimir Zimakov.

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