1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Knigge, Adolf Franz Friedrich

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KNIGGE, ADOLF FRANZ FRIEDRICH, Freiherr von (1752–1796), German author, was born on the family estate of Bredenbeck near Hanover on the 16th of October 1752. After studying law at Göttingen he was attached successively to the courts of Hesse-Cassel and Weimar as gentleman-in-waiting. Retiring from court service in 1777, he lived a private life with his family in Frankfort-on-Main, Hanau, Heidelberg and Hanover until 1791, when he was appointed Oberhauptmann (civil administrator) in Bremen, where he died on the 6th of May 1796. Knigge, under the name “Philo,” was one of the most active members of the Illuminati, a mutual moral and intellectual improvement society founded by Adam Weishaupt (1748–1830) at Ingolstadt, and which later became affiliated to the Freemasons. Knigge is known as the author of several novels, among which Der Roman meines Lebens (1781–1787; new ed., 1805) and Die Reise nach Braunschweig (1792), the latter a rather coarsely comic story, are best remembered. His chief literary achievement was, however, Über den Umgang mit Menschen (1788), in which he lays down rules to be observed for a peaceful, happy and useful life; it has been often reprinted.

Knigge’s Schriften were published in 12 volumes (1804–1806). See K. Goedeke, Adolf, Freiherr von Knigge (1844); and H. Klencke, Aus einer alten Kiste (Briefe, Handschriften und Dokumente aus dem Nachlasse Knigges) (1853).