The inside scoop on the book world -- ''A Man in Full'' increases interest in Epictetus and Bruce Springsteen wants ''Best American Poetry: Vols. 1-6''

By Carmela Ciuraru and Clarissa Cruz
Updated January 08, 1999 at 05:00 AM EST

HarperSanFrancisco is hoping the frequent mentions of Epictetus in Tom Wolfe’s blockbuster A Man in Full will spark renewed interest in the philosopher’s writings. The publisher has spearheaded a publicity push for two of his titles, A Manual for Living and The Art of Living. There’s even a Wolfe-Epictetus link on ”They’re not reissues. It’s a re-promotion thanks to Tom Wolfe,” says spokesperson Meg Lenihan. As to why the musings of a first-century Roman would strike a chord in the ’90s, Living translator Sharon Lebell says, ”I don’t think people are interested in ecstasy or transcendence anymore. They want to know how they can get through the day with dignity, grace, and style.” Quick, get Bill Clinton a copy!

A few months ago, Scribner editor Jake Morrissey received an unusual request: Bruce Springsteen, a huge fan of the popular Best American Poetry anthology series, had been unable to find the first six books (1988-93); could Scribner supply him with the missing volumes? Members of Springsteen’s staff had searched for the out-of-print volumes with no luck. Morrissey forwarded the Boss’ request to Gillian Blake, the editor who oversees Best American. ”I had a few on my shelves,” she says. ”David Lehman, founder and series editor of BAP, supplied his own copy of the very rare first volume, edited by John Ashbery.” Blake hasn’t yet heard back from Springsteen, but she learned from the intermediary who contacted Scribner that the singer was ”very pleased and grateful.”