Categories : non-fiction books Books by Henry James. In fact, for all his surface diffidence, James harbored almost Napoleonic dreams of glory as an artist. The book covers James' earliest years and discusses his intellectually active family, his intermittent schooling, and his first trips to Europe. His older brother William always seemed superior in ability; his classmates scorned his hopelessness at math and science; even at a party he felt too embarrassed to join in the dancing. He was to go without many things, ever so many—as all people do in whom contemplation takes so much the place of action; but everywhere Although couched in the novelist's densest prose—" late late James," as one critic put it  — A Small Boy and Others has enjoyed mostly favorable commentary. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. James clearly suffered from a sense of his inferiority in the "showy", active parts of life.