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Volume 73, Number 27 | November 05 - 11, 2003


Dorothy Farnan, ‘Auden in Love’
author, teacher, is dead at age 84

Dorothy J. Farnan, a Village resident for more than 50 years and the author of the widely acclaimed “Auden in Love,” about the poet W.H. Auden’s relationship with his companion Chester Kallman, died at home Oct. 23 at the age of 84.

A high school English teacher in the city public school system, she became head of the English Department at Erasmus High School in Brooklyn.

Born in Winona, Minn., Dorothy Farnan went to the University of Michigan where in 1941 she met Kallman, a graduate English student, and Auden who was living with him.

She came to New York after graduating from Michigan and became a friend of both men while working as a high school English teacher. In 1948, she met and fell in love with Kallman’s father, Eddie, a dentist who was 20 years her senior, and lived with him until his death in 1986.

Her book “Auden in Love,” published in 1884, gave an intimate portrait of Auden, who was initially jealous of her friendship with Kallman but eventually became her friend.

As an English teacher, she demanded the highest standards from all students and became head of the English Department at Erasmus High School in Brooklyn in 1986.

A goddaughter, the Rev. Carla Valentine Pryne, survives her. The Greenwich Village Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.


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