Three of his novels were filmed by Ismail Merchant and James Ivory: The Europeans (1978), The Bostonians (1984), and The Golden Bowl (2000).
His twelve stage plays all appeared in the mid 1890s. Eleven were in two collections (Theatricals, 1894, and Theatricals: Second Series, 1895) and then Guy Domville appeared on its own later in 1895.
He wrote three books autobiographical books, A Small Boy and Others (1913), Notes of a Son and Brother (1914) and The Middle Years (unfinished at his death, published 1917).
When James died, he left two unfinished novels, The Ivory Tower and The Sense of the Past. They were both published in 1917.
His first short story, A Tragedy of Error (1864), was published anonymously.
At the age of nineteen, he attended Harvard Law School for a few months, but quickly decided the law was not for him.
He was the brother of philosopher and psychologist William James.