This is a personal memoir, cast in the form of a secular breviary, thatrecreates a year Father Owen Lee spent teaching at an American collegecampus in Rome over a quarter century ago. Father Lee is by day a classics professors, but has also been a beloved presence on the Metropolitan Operas's Saturday afternoon Chevron-Texaco broadcasts for over 20 years - and is an ever-insightful commentator on operatic stories, music and themes.>
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"...a wonderful book which will give enormous pleasure to any person who still believes in the inherited high culture of the West.... His wonderful description of the architectural differences between the domes of the Pantheon and Borromini’s St. Yvo is as brilliant a lecture on art history as I have ever read.... His memoir is the testimony of a kind of Christian humanist who is a rarity today." –Commonweal, December 3, 2004About the Author:
M. Owen Lee, a member of the Basilian Fathers, is Emeritus Professor of Classics at the University of Toronto, where he recently received an Outstanding Teacher Award and an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. Author of books of Virgil's Aeneid and Horace's Odes, he is best-known for his books on opera: First Intermissions, Wagner's Ring, A Season of Opera, and The Operagoer's Guide. Father Owen Lee is to opera what Chesterton's Father Brown was to crime detection. For 20 years Father Lee has been a beloved presence on the Metropolitan Opera's Saturday afternoon Chevron-Texaco broadcasts as an always knowledgeable guest on Opera Quiz and as an ever-insightful commentator on operatic stories, music, and themes. A classics professor in his "day job," Father Lee is the author of 14 books, mostly on opera. A Book of Hours is a departure for Father Lee: a personal memoir, cast in the form of a secular breviary, that recreates a year Father Lee spent teaching at an American college campus in Rome over a quarter century ago. The book draws together in an intricate web of refracting relationships the three great loves of Father Lee's life: opera, literature, and his life and work as a priest. A Eurail pass allowed him to visit all the great opera houses of Europe, which in turn reflected on his teaching in the classroom during the week: Homer and Virgil, Whitman and Rilke. And all of this is set in the context of a personal crisis-impending hearing loss, theological doubts, and the celibate's inevitable regret, at age forty, that he cannot share his remaining years with children of his own. In this inspiring and beautifully crafted book, Father Lee shows us how religious faith and a deeply humanistic culture need never be enemies, but rather can be a source of mutual enrichment.
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