Small Boy and Others

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Overview

Henry James was the final survivor of a remarkable family, and his memoir, written at the end of a long and tireless career, was prompted initially by the death of his "ideal Elder Brother," the psychologist and philosopher William James. A Small Boy and Others recounts the novelist’s earliest years in Albany and, more importantly, New York City, where he was allowed to wander at will. He evokes the theatrical entertainments he enjoyed, the varied social scene in which the family mixed, and the piecemeal nature ...

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Overview

Henry James was the final survivor of a remarkable family, and his memoir, written at the end of a long and tireless career, was prompted initially by the death of his "ideal Elder Brother," the psychologist and philosopher William James. A Small Boy and Others recounts the novelist’s earliest years in Albany and, more importantly, New York City, where he was allowed to wander at will. He evokes the theatrical entertainments he enjoyed, the varied social scene in which the family mixed, and the piecemeal nature of his education. With the first of several extended trips, the "romance" of Europe begins as the small boy becomes acquainted with a British culture already familiar from his precocious reading of the great Victorian novelists. And it is in France, in the Louvre’s Galerie d’Apollon, that he undergoes an initiation into the aesthetic power of great art and an intimation of all the "fun" it might bring him. Yet the child also registered, within this privileged and extended family group, signs of dysfunction and failure. James’s autobiography has significantly determined the nature and even the terms of the extensive biographical and critical interest he continues to enjoy. This first fully annotated critical edition of A Small Boy and Others, which guides the reader through the allusive complexities of James’s prose, also offers fresh insights into the formative years of one of literature’s most influential figures.

University of Virginia Press

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Editorial Reviews

The Henry James Review

Collister's editing sets a new standard for future editions of James's texts. We can now read both volumes of the autobiographies with a greatly enhanced understanding of the author's world.

Colm Tóibín

This new edition of Henry James's memoirs displays scholarship at its most painstaking and brilliant. The footnotes to the text actually represent an ingenious new biography of James and a marvelous and accurate portrait of his family and his circle. Peter Collister has done us all a great favor in the way he has approached James's efforts to re-create himself.

Pierre A. Walker

It is almost a century since Henry James's three autobiographical volumes first appeared. Only now, however, is a thoroughly researched and carefully edited critical edition becoming available. Students, scholars, and amateurs of James are greatly indebted to editor Peter Collister and to the University of Virginia Press for publishing this important new contribution to American literature.

Choice

[Reviewed in tandem with Notes of a Son and Brother: and The Middle Years, also edited by Peter Collister] The present two-volume critical edition of these memoirs makes a crucial contribution to James studies. Footnotes--so copious they often exceed James's text on the page--provide clarification, biographical and historical context, and relevant explanatory information. Drawn from archival sources and relevant James scholarship, the notes serve as a biographical companion, and often corrective, to James's version of his life. These volumes will prove indispensable for scholars and readers of James....Highly recommended.

Nineteenth-Century Contexts

Collister's historical contextualizing is impressive....[he] seems to have walked in [James's] footsteps and illuminates place and history....[This] edition likely to be unsurpassed as a scholarly resource....[whose] contribution is huge and, after nearly a century, deeply welcome.

Choice

[Reviewed in tandem with Notes of a Son and Brother: and The Middle Years, also edited by Peter Collister] The present two-volume critical edition of these memoirs makes a crucial contribution to James studies. Footnotes--so copious they often exceed James's text on the page--provide clarification, biographical and historical context, and relevant explanatory information. Drawn from archival sources and relevant James scholarship, the notes serve as a biographical companion, and often corrective, to James's version of his life. These volumes will prove indispensable for scholars and readers of James....Highly recommended.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781885586186
  • Publisher: Turtle Point Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2008
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Collister is the author of Writing the Self: Henry James and America.

University of Virginia Press

Biography

Henry James (1843-1916), born in New York City, was the son of noted religious philosopher Henry James, Sr., and brother of eminent psychologist and philosopher William James. He spent his early life in America and studied in Geneva, London and Paris during his adolescence to gain the worldly experience so prized by his father. He lived in Newport, went briefly to Harvard Law School, and in 1864 began to contribute both criticism and tales to magazines. In 1869, and then in 1872-74, he paid visits to Europe and began his first novel, Roderick Hudson. Late in 1875 he settled in Paris, where he met Turgenev, Flaubert, and Zola, and wrote The American (1877). In December 1876 he moved to London, where two years later he achieved international fame with Daisy Miller. Other famous works include Washington Square (1880), The Portrait of a Lady (1881), The Princess Casamassima (1886), The Aspern Papers (1888), The Turn of the Screw (1898), and three large novels of the new century, The Wings of the Dove (1902), The Ambassadors (1903) and The Golden Bowl (1904). In 1905 he revisited the United States and wrote The American Scene (1907). During his career, he also wrote many works of criticism and travel. Although old and ailing, he threw himself into war work in 1914, and in 1915, a few months before his death, he became a British subject. In 1916 King George V conferred the Order of Merit on him. He died in London in February 1916.

Author biography courtesy of Penguin Group (USA).

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    1. Date of Birth:
      April 15, 1843
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Death:
      February 28, 1916
    2. Place of Death:
      London, England
    1. Education:
      Attended school in France and Switzerland; Harvard Law School, 1862-63

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction xi

A Note on This Edition xxix

List of Abbreviations xxxiii

A Small Boy and Others

Chapter Summaries 3

Text 5

Two Unpublished Pages of A Small Boy and Others 331

Chronology: The Early Years of Henry James 333

Genealogies 339

Brief Biographies: Family and Friends 344

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2013

    Unreadable digital scan

    As a James fan, I am sure there is an interesting story here, but it is lost because the digital scan of the original is so poor.

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