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Book of Hours [Paperback]

M. Owen Lee
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 1, 2006 0826418740 978-0826418746
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Frequently Bought Together

Book of Hours + The Great Instrumental Works: Unlocking the Masters series, no. 7. (Contains two complete Naxos CDs) + First Intermissions: Commentaries from the Met Revised and Enlarged Edition
Price for all three: $60.07

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"How can a memoir whose main action involves traveling by train across Europe to attend opera performances be so exciting? A Book of Hours focuses on a year Father Owen Lee spent teaching at an American college in Rome sometime in the 1950s. Father Lee is a priest and scholar who...is best known as a witty, genially knowledgeable commentator on the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts, and author of many well-loved books on opera. His subject is the power of beauty to place him 'face to face with something, someone, deep within me and at the same time infinitely beyond.' Theological arguments, ethical dilemmas, and discussions with colleagues and students about Homer, Horace, Sappho, and Wagner mix with lively descriptions of Rome. He illuminates every experience with infinite shades of meaning....[I]n every facet of this exquisite memoir Father Lee communicates a fertile affirmation of life."—Wholenote (Toronto)


"[A] wonderful book which will give enormous pleasure to any person who still believes in the inherited high culture of the West....[Lee's] memoir is the testimony of a kind of Christian humanist who is a rarity today."—Commonweal
(Commonweal)

"One finds in theological circles frequent appeal to the 'sacramental imagination' as a distinguishing trait of Catholicism. Like all truths when unimaginatively intoned, it quickly becomes platitudinous. The Rev. M. Owen Lee's finely crafted and deeply moving memoir never invokes the phrase. Yet his book is redolent with an imagination that is comprehensively catholic and profoundly sacramental. A Book of Hours explores human imagination's heights and depths....Owen Lee's Book of Hours sings, ultimately, of God's sacramental imagination. He chants a sacrificial liturgy for all seasons."

America

(America: The National Catholic Weekly)

"A Book of Hours is an aesthetic feast, lyrically offered. But it is also a pilgrim's journey, an odyssey of an authentically humanist Christian soul."—Worship
(Worship)

"With his wonderfully synthetic mind he weaves together his thoughts about classics, opera, composers, conversations with bright, questing students, reflections on his travels, the people he meets, observations on how an atrocity from antiquity connects to the modern, our propensity for repeating rather than learning from the past, strands of thought that continually converse with and enlighten one another. Conversations with his students who seem to tell him absolutely everything and to whom he responds in a way that embraces, challenges, and inspires were particularly intimate and affecting. I was sorry to have reached the last page. Anyone who enjoys Father Lee's spacious way of seeing and integrating experience will enjoy his memoir" — Beth Hart


“How can a memoir whose main action involves traveling by train across Europe to attend opera performances be so exciting? A Book of Hours focuses on a year Father Owen Lee spent teaching at an American college in Rome sometime in the 1950s. Father Lee is a priest and scholar who…is best known as a witty, genially knowledgeable commentator on the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts, and author of many well-loved books on opera. His subject is the power of beauty to place him 'face to face with something, someone, deep within me and at the same time infinitely beyond.’ Theological arguments, ethical dilemmas, and discussions with colleagues and students about Homer, Horace, Sappho, and Wagner mix with lively descriptions of Rome. He illuminates every experience with infinite shades of meaning….[I]n every facet of this exquisite memoir Father Lee communicates a fertile affirmation of life.”—Wholenote (Toronto)


"[A] wonderful book which will give enormous pleasure to any person who still believes in the inherited high culture of the West….[Lee’s] memoir is the testimony of a kind of Christian humanist who is a rarity today.”—Commonweal
(Commonweal)

“One finds in theological circles frequent appeal to the 'sacramental imagination’ as a distinguishing trait of Catholicism. Like all truths when unimaginatively intoned, it quickly becomes platitudinous. The Rev. M. Owen Lee’s finely crafted and deeply moving memoir never invokes the phrase. Yet his book is redolent with an imagination that is comprehensively catholic and profoundly sacramental. A Book of Hours explores human imagination’s heights and depths….Owen Lee’s Book of Hours sings, ultimately, of God’s sacramental imagination. He chants a sacrificial liturgy for all seasons.”

America

(America: The National Catholic Weekly)

“With his wonderfully synthetic mind he weaves together his thoughts about classics, opera, composers, conversations with bright, questing students, reflections on his travels, the people he meets, observations on how an atrocity from antiquity connects to the modern, our propensity for repeating rather than learning from the past, strands of thought that continually converse with and enlighten one another. Conversations with his students who seem to tell him absolutely everything and to whom he responds in a way that embraces, challenges, and inspires were particularly intimate and affecting. I was sorry to have reached the last page. Anyone who enjoys Father Lee’s spacious way of seeing and integrating experience will enjoy his memoir” – Beth Hart

About 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.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic (September 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826418740
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826418746
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,014,122 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A marriage of music and spirituality May 12, 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Well known to opera lovers for his insightful commentaries during the Saturday broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera, Father Owen Lee's memoir of a year teaching in Italy and travelling all over Europe to attend operas adds a remarkable depth to Father Lee's clearly multifaceted life. Combining musings about religion, faith, scholarship,music and human nature, this is a beautiful book, rich in insights and moving in many ways. Although Father Lee's faith clearly derives from his calling as a Catholic priest, his observations and insights into things spirirual and musical should not be off-putting to a person of any faith, or none at all. "I hated to turn to the last page" is quite the literary cliche, but I was genuinely sorry for this wonderful book to end. I wish there were a volume two.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Recollections January 16, 2014
Format:Paperback
This is the true story of a middle aged man, a Catholic priest, who was assigned to teach the Greek and Latin classics in Rome for one year in the early 1970s. It is the story of his mid-life struggle to understand himself and to honor the vows he made at 19, when he entered the church. His story of this one year experience, told through his travels in Europe, his analysis of the operas he attended, his interaction with his students and fellow teachers, and through his appreciation of literature is truly remarkable. This is an exceptionally insightful account of a most meaning filled experience in the life of this cultured man. It is well written, and I recommend it highly.
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