Thanatológiai Szemle

elektronikus folyóirat


VIII. évfolyam



Dear Reader,

Making the best of the possibilities of the diversifying field of thanatology our latest issue provides with varied reading matter to all those honouring us with their attention. Besides the thoughtful problems of our cold reality we disclose the contemplations of a wise doctor and Renaissance Man of the 17th century which are similarly thoughtful and sometimes surprising. Our unconcealed aim is to make you smile when you wish to get refreshed after studies raising more severe problems.

In our ’Poems’ column this time we provide with a taste of the lyric works of a poetess having her first volume published. We chose three poems of her volume ’Silk’ (2004) that was published by Hungarian Diary Publishing Co. The three poems represent the author’s style weaved with smooth lyricism and full with hesitation hidden by silence.

I think it’s no doubt that the most shocking and moving emotion we feel is when we see a child facing death. It is an inhuman task as a parent to accept the facts and accompany our own child on the way that is not easy even for adults. On the way where children are also forced to go and to know or unwittingly feel its difficulties. Therefore psychologists have a particularly important task at paediatric wards dealing with the seriously ill, since beyond the sick child their attention expands to his/her whole family (including siblings) and the whole team caring for the small patient. In their study ’Psychic leading of the incurably ill child and his/her family’ Enikő Földesi and Csilla Zsámbor summarize the viewpoints a psychologist must be aware of during his/her job and introduce the most common difficulties and psychic problems the concerned have to face with.

The following - more voluminous - work is addressing an issue that arises in our days as a current problem. Hospitalization of death and dying, passing in hospital environment has lead to a crisis of rites as soon as in the second half of the 20th century. Centuries long traditions of death rites were extruded from hospitals by their bureaucratic order; however it didn’t provide the grieving families with any alternative rite-possibilities instead. The most serious problem is the restoration of the deceased person’s dignity and the lack of possibility to take decent leave of the dead. János Pilling investigates Hungarian law in terms of appropriate treatment of the deceased person and the dead body and as a result of his thorough examination he points out their deficiencies, the problems in the field of enshrine rights, that were recently raised by more incidents - that were also discussed by the media. The most important posing of his article that there should be rooms established in hospitals where preservation of the dead body’s dignity is provided and provide with scene to the private grief and leave taking for the families.

The last two writings of the present issue guides you, Readers back to the past. In the first you can read historical data to the specific lot and death of Gaspard Hauser, a young man who lived in the 19th century and due to the translation and comments of László András Magyar we get acquainted with a part of an interesting source-book. With the latter writing we wish to start our ’Sources’ column that is to be a scene of introducing archives and historical source-groups that help us taking a look in the traditions of our past having an image on the cultural and historical projections of death-concept and the image of death and afterworld. I draw our future authors’ attention on the possibility to publish in the field of this new topic.

In the name of the Editors I wish every Reader a pleasant and useful reading!

Ildikó Horányi
senior editor




Just sleep
Even the pen makes its mark more slowly
This morning... 13.



Psychic leading of the incurably ill child and his/her family

In case of malignant pediatric diseases besides medical treatment there is a need for effective psycho-social support of the patient. Psychological follow-up of the patient is an essential part of the total medical care from the diagnosis until the terminal stage. In spite of increasing healing ratio and improving life expectancy tumor disease causes a severe convulsion for the child and the family: final healing expectancies are uncertain. Psychological support in the terminal stage and communication is performed in accordance with the child’s age-peculiarities and consequently by knowing the degree of his/her death-awareness. Talking about children death may appear especially unreal that entails excessive stress and spiritual burden on the hospital team.


Dignity of leave-taking
(Issues of treatment of the dead body)

The crisis of death rite connected traditional rite-systems is strongly related to the process of hospitalization of death and to the lack of formation of a new rite-alternative that adapts to the altered circumstances. The main problem is the preservation of the dead body’s dignity and that there is no appropriate room established within the health care institutes for the manifestation of grief-reactions and leave taking that most fits the attitude of the families, which may have harmful effect on the normal progression of grief-work. By delineating Hungarian law concerning enshrine and mortal remains of the deceased the study pointed out their deficiencies and makes a proposal to alter or modify them according to the viewpoints of bioethics and thanatology. The need for change is enforced by revealing the reasons of some - recent - hospital incidents. As an example to follow it suggests establishment of grief-rooms, leave-taking rooms and introduces alternative solutions for institutes with different capabilities.


Verlaine: Gaspard Hauser chante

In connection with the establishment of so called death marks, the author commemorates Gaspard Hauser, the mysterious young man who appeared in the city of Nürnberg in 1828 and with his specific lot earned a memorial column in memory of his death. In his poem written in 1873, Paul Verlaine recalls his figure as a symbol of an odd stranger who doesn’t fit it his era. The poem was translated to Hungarian in more versions, these translations are introduced by the author and provides with historical data to the poem’s better understanding.



On the resurrection of the dead (parts)
(Translated, introduced and footnoted by: László András Magyar)

(In: GARMANN, L. CHRISTIAN FRIEDRICH: De miraculis mortuorum libri tres. Dresdae et Lipsiae, J. C. Zimmermann, 1709. Lib. III. Titulus IV. 1200-1244.)



When we die... Wake songs from around Zombor (Ildikó Horányi)

European recommendations on the organization of palliative care. Recommendation Rec (2003) 24 of the Committee of Ministers to the member states on the organization of palliative care (Council of Europe). (Ed.: KATALIN HEGEDŰS, Dr.) (Ágnes Zana)