What does this mean: “he was little or nothing but life.”

What are you taking this from? I may be able to help.
It sounds like what he's saying is that he was not very important, nothing more than a mass of bones taking up space. Meaning that he didn't see himself as anything important in the world.

Let me know if that helped.

wow yeah that did help! thanks Katie Bunting

You're welcome! I'm glad I could help. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask.