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Tono Bungay by H.G. Wells
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Tono Bungay (original 1909; edition 1979)

by H.G. Wells

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6591614,584 (3.48)41
Member:almigwin
Title:Tono Bungay
Authors:H.G. Wells
Info:University of Nebraska Press (1979), Paperback, 317 pages
Collections:Your library (inactive)
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Tags:novel

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Tono-Bungay by H. G. Wells (1909)

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» See also 41 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
How marketing a product can lead to riches and then to bankruptcy. Insightful and pertinent to today's consumer. ( )
  JVioland | Jul 14, 2014 |
It's both amazing and alarming how much this book still rings true.

It's the story of a huckster. Or, more accurately, a want-to-be chemist who turned into a huckster.

"This irrational muddle of a community in which we live gave him that, paid him at that rate for sitting in a room and scheming and telling it lies. For he created nothing, he invented nothing, he economized nothing....It was all a monstrous payment for courageous fiction, a gratuity in return for the one reality of human life -- illusion. We gave them a feeling of hope and profit; we sent a tidal wave of water and confidence into their stranded affairs." ( )
  bug_girl | Mar 30, 2014 |
Available as a free audiobook from https://librivox.org/ ( )
  captbirdseye | Mar 4, 2014 |
The last of Wells’ works that was on my tbr list for the 1001 books. Wells occasionally delights me, but, on the whole, though I do regard him a genius and a mind a century ahead of his time, his writing doesn’t really grab me too much. Tono-Bungay was just such a novel.

George is lured into working for his uncle who has concocted some potion that he is flogging off as a cure-all. It’s nothing of the sort though; as the business grows exponentially, like most things these days, rather than this demonstrating a superior product, it simply demonstrates superior marketing.

Eventually, the ethical skeletons come out of the closet of morality and give George nightmares he can’t escape from without his whole life imploding. Or can he?

What I did appreciate about this book, coming as it does between those classics of sci-fi The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds, was that it was Wells turning his brilliant mind to something less alien: our everyday capitalist lives. I’m used to him dealing with more esoteric subjects like… well, like time travel or alien invasions. But this novel revealed that he very much understood not only his times but those to come. Quite a few of those who grace the front covers of our magazines might want to read a copy of this.

There’s much more character development in this novel than in any other I’ve read of Wells. I other works, his characters seem to be dominated by the crisis at hand. In this one, it’s very much the impact of crises on a character that is the focus. It’s like Wells suddenly realised you can see through both ends of a telescope.

The weakness in the novel was, for me, the style. However, I’ll put this down, not to any lack on Wells’ part, but to the fact that while he is a writer ahead of his time, I’m a reader very much in or quite possibly behind my own time. ( )
  arukiyomi | Dec 28, 2013 |
This novel was an unexpected joy to read--I usually find Wells to be plodding in style while inventive in his story. This novel follows its own path and, while I only pulled it because it is on the 1001 Must Read list, I had great fun following George on his life's path. ( )
  Prop2gether | Dec 18, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
AN entertaining book with both a story and a moral, and not a dull page, is a rare achievement for an author nowadays. These results have been attained in the work before us, (Tono-Bungay. By H.G. Wells. New York: Duffield Co. $1.50. 460 pp.)
added by jlelliott | editThe New York Times (Jan 30, 1909)
 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
H. G. Wellsprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Barrett, AndreaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Most people in this world seem to live "in character"; they have a beginning, a middle and an end, and the three are congruous one with another and true to the rules of their type. You can speak of them as being of this sort of people or that. They are, as theatrical people say, no more (and no less) than "character actors."
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Book description
From Amazon.com:

Presented as a miraculous cure-all, Tono-Bungay is in fact nothing other than a pleasant-tasting liquid with no positive effects. Nonetheless, when the young George Ponderevo is employed by his uncle Edward to help market this ineffective medicine, he finds his life overwhelmed by its sudden success. Soon the worthless substance is turned into a formidable fortune as society becomes convinced of the merits of Tono-Bungay through a combination of skilled advertising and public credulity.

-Includes a newly established text, a full biographical essay on Wells, a list of further reading, and detailed notes
-Edward Mendelson’s introduction explores the many ways in which Tono-Bungay satirizes the fictions and delusions that shape modern life.
About the Author
Edward Mendelson is a writer, critic, and professor of English at Columbia University. Patrick Parrinder has written on H. G. Wells, science fiction, and James Joyce.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0141441119, Paperback)

Presented as a miraculous cure-all, Tono-Bungay is in fact nothing other than a pleasant-tasting liquid with no positive effects. Nonetheless, when the young George Ponderevo is employed by his uncle Edward to help market this ineffective medicine, he finds his life overwhelmed by its sudden success. Soon the worthless substance is turned into a formidable fortune as society becomes convinced of the merits of Tono-Bungay through a combination of skilled advertising and public credulity.

-Includes a newly established text, a full biographical essay on Wells, a list of further reading, and detailed notes
-Edward Mendelson’s introduction explores the many ways in which Tono-Bungay satirizes the fictions and delusions that shape modern life

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:41:23 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

George Ponderovo's quiet young life is changed for ever when he is forced to leave home and is apprenticed to his dynamic Uncle Edward in his chemist's shop. Edward, determined to 'strike out', invents a bogus medicine called Tono-Bungay which earns him a vast fortune. George's share of the wealth enables him to live out his fantasies by building an aeroplane. As he witnesses the spectacular rise of the Tono-Bungay empire he contemplates a corrupt English society that allows his uncle to wield so much power. This is the only popular edition of the text to include Wells's final revisions. The notes explain his multi-layered allusions, and the Introduction places the novel in its literary and historical context.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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