Nicolas Tredell

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Books Authored




The Novels of Colin Wilson (London: Vision; Totowa, New Jersey: Barnes and Noble, 1982). Revised and expanded ebook edition: Existence and Evolution: The Novels of Colin Wilson (Richmond, California: Maurice Bassett , 2004) (


1st edn: ‘an excellent place to begin reading about one of Britain’s more idiosyncratic writers’. John V. Knapp, Modern Fiction Studies

'usefully explores the relationship to Shaw and Wells, the popular elements in the novels, and the quality of Wilson's existentialism'. Year’s Work in English Studies

2nd edn: ‘the most authoritative and detailed assessment of Wilson’s fiction to date’. Colin Stanley, Colin Wilson, the first fifty years: an existential bibliography, 1956-2005




Uncancelled Challenge: The Work of Raymond Williams (Nottingham: Paupers, 1990)k



This study seeks to outline Williams's career, to discuss his major writings from Reading and Criticism to People of the Black Mountains and to explore the possibilities and problems which his 'uncancelled challenge' still presents. Williams's work forms 'a sustained attempt to integrate personal experience, cultural, social and politicaly analysis, literary criticism and theory, fiction and drama, and socialist commitment into an ongoing practice that sought both to interpret and change the world' (p. 90).



The Critical Decade: Culture in Crisis (Manchester: Carcanet, 1993)



'lucid, urbane and witty ... an excellent guide ... [Tredell] has the rare capacity to explain ideas without reducing them by oversimplification. He shows an admirable intellectual generosity but writes sharply when his subjects require it'.  Bernard Bergonzi, The Tablet (1994)


'Taken together [with Conversations with Critics (see Books Edited)], these two volumes constitute an important charting of the English literature academy's long years of civil

war'. Mark Ford, Times Literary Supplement (1994)




Caute’s Confrontations: The Novels of David Caute (Nottingham: Paupers, 1994)


This is the only full-length study of the novels of a remarkable writer whose fiction is notable for its vivid political engagements and bold structural experiments. 'If English fiction and criticism want to meet the political, cultural and aesthetic challenges of today's world, they can learn from Caute's confrontations' (p. 117)



Fighting Fictions: The Novels of B. S. Johnson, second revised and updated edition (Nottingham: Paupers, 2010)



                                      Praise for the first edition

'very well-informed … If a reappraisal [of Johnson] was called for, Tredell showed how it could be done’. Sir Frank Kermode, London Review of Books (2004)

'A concise and readable introduction'. Jonathan Coe, Like a Fiery Elephant: The Story of B. S. Johnson (2004)

'Tredell's strength is in continually returning to the questions posed by Johnson's "open, broken, unfinished" novels and their various challenges to literary convention and the political status quo'. Glyn White, Re-reading B. S. Johnson (2007)






Shakespeare: Macbeth: A Reader's Guide to Essential Criticism (Basingstoke and London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006)


'This Guide both covers the full range of responses to Macbeth and discusses essential criticism in real depth; it gives a sense of the unfolding critical history and of the continuing excitement of thinking about the play.' Nick Potter, Swansea Institute, UK






Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby: A Reader's Guide (New York and London: Continuum,  2007)


'This is the ideal guide to the text, setting The Great Gatsby in its historical, intellectual and cultural contexts, offering analyses of its themes, style and structure, providing exemplary close readings, presenting an up-to-date account of its critical reception and examining its afterlife in literature, film and opera. It includes points for discussion, suggestions for further study and an annotated guide to relevant reading.' Continuum Online Catalogue, 2009




Ten years ago, it could seem that B. S. Johnson had fallen into obscurity. Indeed, when the first edition of Fighting Fictions appeared in 2000, no other book on Johnson had been published. Since then, however, Johnson has enjoyed something of a revival. Four books about him have appeared, including the biography Like a Fiery Elephant by Jonathan Coe. With the first edition of Fighting Fictions now sold out, Nicolas Tredell has taken the opportunity to update the opening chapter and the anti-conclusion and to make a range of amendments in other parts of the book.

His study argues 'that the so-called "experimental" aspects of Johnson's novels are as valuable as their realistic ones, sometimes more so, and that his work continues to pose major challenges for writers and readers in the twenty-first century. His novels are fighting fictions in two main senses: they contest conventional realism and, even more radically, they question whether fiction has any value at all'.

Fighting Fictions provides a profile of Johnson's life; an account of developments in English fiction in the 1950s and 1960s; a summary of Johnson's views on the novel; and an outline of the critical assumptions and approaches of the study as as whole. It discusses each of Johnson's novels in turn and offers, in the form of an anti-conclusion, suggestions about his achievement and about possible future directions for critical explorations of his work. 



A Midsummer Night's Dream is an enchanting and extraordinary comedy. With its rich  poetry and vigorous prose, and its combination of magic, myth, romance and humour, it ranks among Shakespeare's most popular and memorable plays. However, it has also increasingly been recognized as a profound and penetrating exploration of love, desire, gender, social hierarchy, dramatic art, imagination and vision.

In this Reader's Guide, Nicolas Tredell:

*explores the key critical responses to the play, from the late seventeenth to the twenty-first     centuries

*provides succinct and searching accounts of the most vibrant commentaries and        interpretations

*sets these accounts in their critical, theoretical and historical contexts



Informed and incisive, this survey is an invaluable resource for students, teachers and all  those who wish to enhance their grasp of Dream criticism and engage in the ongoing critical debates about the play.

'This is a helpful book: it identifies key critical accounts; it organises them effectively within a larger narrative that is not at all intrusive; it summarises them clearly and illustrates its summaries with well-chosen quotation. Its guidance is always helpful and balanced and the book provides overall a very good grounding in criticism of the play.' - Nick Potter, Swansea Metropolitan University, UK

'Tredell works through chronologically, summarising concisely and quoting effectively, giving a comprehensive account of the full range of criticism.' - John Haddon, The Use of English





Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night's Dream: A Reader's Guide to Essential Criticism (Basingstoke and London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010)C



Photo by Liz Silvester


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F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby / Tender is the Night: Analysing Texts series (Basingstoke and London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011)


'Nicolas Tredell's examination of The Great Gatsby and Tender is the Night is a rare critical look at two of F. Scott Fitzgerald's most important texts, side by side. While the two novels have often been interpreted, rarely are they read in tandem, as this study does. Insightful, intelligent and thought-provoking, this study provides fascinating contexts within which new dimensions of both novels are brought to the fore, in light of each other.' - Stephanie Smith, University of Florida, USA



The Great Gatsby and Tender is the Night are F. Scott Fitzgerald's best-known novels. They draw on Fitzgerald's own vivid experiences in the 1920s but transform them into art.



Part I of this indispensable study:




*provides interesting and informed close readings of key passages



*examines how each novel starts and ends


*discusses key themes of society, money, gender and trauma


*outlines the methods of analysis and offers suggestions for further work




Part II supplies essential background material, including:



*an account of Fitzgerald's life


*a survey of historical, cultural and literary contexts


*samples of significant criticism




Also featuring a helpful Further Reading section, this volume equips readers with the critical and analytical skills which will enable them to enjoy and explore both novels for themselves.