To recall how theorists have observed the impact of imperialism on the emergence of metropolitan modernism is not a prelude to hailing Tono-Bungay1 as one such modernist novel. For within the shifting boundaries of the mappings offered by scholars, the modernism of a fiction written by a writer renowned for naturalist fictions and Futurist fantasies must appear uncertain. All the same, David Harvey’s dictum on modernism as ‘a troubled and fluctuating aesthetic response to conditions of modernity produced by a particular process of modernization’2 may lead a reader acquainted with the novel’s storyline to anticipate just such a move, the subject of Tono-Bungay and the occasion for its ethical critique being the impact of late nineteenth-century capitalist modernization on the imperial homeland. Not only does the imperialist dynamic of this process form the fiction’s spatial and temporal coordinates and inflect its topological structure, but the narrative traces the seismic effects of accelerated socio-economic transformation on social arrangements in the domestic society; while one of the novel’s themes is the making of the cosmopolitan capital city, womb and progeny of capitalism’s expansion, and acknowledged as one of the distinguishing preoccupations of the modernist movement.