San Francisco: The Arion Press, 2008. Stan Washburn. The type, Plantin, in Monotype composition, and the polymer plates, printed by letterpress on Mohawk Via laid paper, in large octavo format, 9-1/8 by 6 inches. The book, consisting of 372 pages, is bound in full cloth, with titling labels on spine and front cover, the latter in the shape of a bottle, in slipcase. Included with the book in the slipcase is a booklet reprinting the informative notes by Edward Mendelson from the Penguin Classics edition of Tono-Bungay (2005). Explanations of unfamiliar references and elucidations of realities underpinning the fiction can be readily consulted while reading the Arion Press deluxe edition. The edition is limited to 300 numbered copies for sale. New. Item #CNAP082
H. G. Wells, the British novelist and social thinker (1866-1946), is best known for his works of science fiction: "The Time Machine" (1895), "The Island of Doctor Moreau" (1896), "The Invisible Man" (1897), and "The War of the Worlds" (1898), written in swift succession to enormous success.
The novel "Tono-Bungay" (1908-09) is less well known and not futuristic, though it seems keenly prescient a hundred years later. It is his greatest book. "Tono-Bungay is Wells's masterpiece," writes Edward Mendelson in his excellent introduction to the Penguin Classics edition of 2005. "It is a profoundly unsettling novel, epic in scope and encyclopedic in content, yet always disturbingly aware of its own fictional quality, of the self-deceptions of its first-person narrator, and of the fictions and delusions that shape modern life in every sphere from sex to commerce to politics to science."
Despite its serious nature, Tono-Bungay is highly entertaining. The title is the brand-name of a patent-medicine concocted by Edward Ponderevo, the uncle of the narrator George Ponderevo. The story is clearly based on the history and phenomenal commercial success of Coca-Cola. Like Coke, Tono-Bungay is not entirely good for you. This novel remains an extremely timely story for its exposé not only of the pharmaceutical industry but of unrestrained financial speculation. Read more about the novel. This edition features fourteen psychological portraits of the main characters by Stan Washburn. Here his technique is to scratch negatives for the direct production of polymer plates. Though printed by letterpress their linear quality is that of etching.
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