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A Small Boy and Others

A Critical Edition
Henry James. Edited by Peter Collister

BUY Paper · 400 pp. · 6.125 × 9.25 · ISBN 9780813930824 · $27.50 · May 2011
BUY Cloth · 400 pp. · 6.125 × 9.25 · ISBN 9780813930817 · $60.00 · May 2011
BUY Ebook · 400 pp. · ISBN 9780813930893 · $27.50 · May 2011

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.


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.

Colm Tóibín, author of The Master

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.

Pierre A. Walker, co–general editor of The Complete Letters of Henry James

[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.


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.

The Henry James Review

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.

Nineteenth-Century Contexts

A valuable contribution to scholarship.

American Literary Scholarship

A critical edition, companion to the preceding item, and with the same impressive scholarly apparatus noted for that volume. First published 1913.

Dan Mark Fogel, eminent Henry James scholar · Oxford Bibliographies Online

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