Stuff of Sleep and Dreams

by Leon Edel. Harper & Row, $20.00. These essays are subtitled “Experiments in Literary Psychology.” Mr. Edel firmly distinguishes between “literary psychology,” by which he means the attempt to deduce a writer’s private emotions and attitudes from a work of art that makes no mention of them, and psychology as a therapy. A biographer has no business with the latter, but discreet use of the former can produce valuable insights, as Mr. Edel proves in his discussion of such authors as Joyce, Eliot, Woolf, Wharton, and, surprisingly, Rex Stout.