Julius von Voss

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Julius von Voss, drawing by ETA Hoffmann

Julius von Voss (born August 24, 1768 in Brandenburg an der Havel , † November 1, 1832 in Berlin ) was a German writer and founder of the Berlin local posse .


He came from the old German noble family Voss . As the son of lieutenant colonel and assessor in the war college Georg Adam von Voss (1733–1791), he embarked on a military career at the age of 14. In 1782 he came to the infantry regiment "von Wunsch" . The satirical streak of his regiment chief made him no friends, and so he got into the infantry regiment "von Pfuhl" . He dealt with the science of war and worked out reform proposals, which were, however, ignored.

In 1794 Voss became adjutant to Colonel von Hundt . With luck and skill, he was able to save the poorly fortified Thorn fortress and the local war chest with 1.5 million talers in the Kościuszko uprising . He received the order Pour le Mérite for this , but his colonel even became a general, also received the Pour le Mérite and valuable goods. This disproportion re-fueled Voss's satirical inclination.

Waiting in vain for his military promotion, he retired from military service in 1798 and from then on devoted himself entirely to writing. He wandered through Germany, Sweden, France and Italy, but returned to Berlin.

His efforts to get a permanent job at the theater remained fruitless. He became more and more addicted to alcohol. When his bank went bankrupt, he lost all of his fortune. So he spent the last 10 years of his life in poor conditions despite a royal pension. Some of his comedies were still very successful. August Wilhelm Iffland brought several plays to the stage of Berlin's “Royal National Theater”. The following were particularly successful:

  • Greekness. Original comedy in five acts, with dance and song (premiered May 4, 1807, 20 performances until 1814).
  • Artist earth walls. Original comedy in five acts (premiered January 29, 1810, 19 performances until 1814).
  • The Star Queen, a romantic fairy tale in 3 acts (premiered December 7, 1804, 14 performances until 1814).
Title page from Ini. First and Twentieth Century Novel (1810)

After his discharge from the military, he mainly worked on novels and plays such as his 1818 novel The Grave of Mother in Palermo . His ini, published in 1810 . Novel from the first and twentieth century is considered the first German-language science fiction . In 1821 his local posse Der Stralower Fischzug was premiered in the Royal Opera House in Berlin . The play was panned by the specialist critics, but the audience was enthusiastic.

Julius Voss was married to Helene Josefine Susanne von Voss (* 1781 - March 19, 1833). He died of cholera and is buried in the garrison cemetery in Berlin.


Memorial cross "Julius von Voss" on the old garrison cemetery
  • with Wentzel Müller and Karl-Friedrich Wenzel: The twelve sleeping virgins. Romantic drama with singing in four acts (1805) full text - online - free of charge
  • History of a Pruszian officer imprisoned near Jena (1807), digitized version
  • Ini. Novel from the first and twentieth century (1810) ( digitized and full text in the German text archive ), reprint with commentary by Ulrich Blode: Oberhaid: Utopica, 2008, ISBN 978-3-938083-11-6 .
  • Mother's Tomb in Palermo , Roman (1818)
  • Ladies hats in the theater (1820)
  • The Stralower Fischzug , comedy (1821)
  • The sixteen ancestors of Count von Luftheim , family chronicle (1821)
  • The fashions of the good old days , novel from the year 1750 (1825), Neuausg. in old spelling: Berlin: Eulenspiegelverl. 1985.
  • Spain's Maidens Tribute to the Moors , Roman (1830)


  • Georg EllingerVoss, Julius von . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 40, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1896, pp. 349-352.
  • Karl Goedeke : Outline of the history of German poetry from the sources. P. 937. Digitized
  • Johannes Hahn: Julius von Voss (= Palaestra . Volume 94), Mayer & Müller, Berlin 1909, OCLC 250054570 (dissertation University of Berlin December 15, 1909, 94 pages, speaker E. Schmidt).
  • Ulrich Blode: From the European emperor and from automata: technology and utopia in Julius von Voss (1768–1832) ; Text accompanying the lecture during the “November of Science” 2010 , Hanover 2010.
  • Rüdiger von Voss: Julius von Voss: Officer, Enlightenment and Writer in the Age of Revolutions , Berlin: be.bra Wissenschaft verlag, [2017], ISBN 978-3-95410-088-0 .
  • Dirk Sangmeister: "What kind of guy was that?" For the 250th birthday of the hard-working entertainment and theater writer Julius von Voss (1768–1832). In. Journal for German Studies NF 28 (2018), no. 2, pp. 362–367.

Web links

Wikisource: Julius von Voss  - sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. First performed on March 19, 1805, reworked for the Berlin stage, Schöne, Berlin 1805, OCLC 644266466 Contributions to the German Schaubühne by Julius von Voß, Berlin, 1809. - Roles: Der Ritter; The chancellor; The Count Palatine; Hedwig, his daughter; A robber chief; Kunigunde, his wife; Adelheid, his daughter; His son; Gutta von Eberstein; Gutta's lover; Bailiff of the chancellor; An officer of the emperor; A miller; A good genius; An evil demon; The twelve sleeping virgins; u. a. 116 pages.
  2. Digitization and indexing of the libretto collection Her of the Bavarian State Library.