FACT CHECK: Did Oscar Wilde Say, ‘I’m Not Young Enough To Know Everything’?

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims that Irish writer Oscar Wilde said, “I’m not young enough to know everything.”

Verdict: False

Wilde did not author this statement. It is actually a line by Scottish writer J.M. Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan.

Fact Check:

A novelist, playwright and poet, Wilde was an influential proponent of aestheticism, an intellectual movement that considered beauty to be the primary purpose of art. Among his best known works are the 1895 satirical play “The Importance of Being Earnest” and his 1891 philosophical novel “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” both considered literary classics. (RELATED: Did Mark Twain Pen This Quote On Kindness?)

Wilde often brought up the subject of youth in his writings. “The old believe everything; the middle-aged suspect everything; the young know everything,” he wrote in 1894.

However, he did not author the statement attributed to him in the Facebook post. The quote appears nowhere in his collected works. “This is said by a character called Earnest talking to another called Agatha, but not in a Wilde Play,” Donald Mead, chairman of The Oscar Wilde Society, told The Daily Caller in an email. “It is from Act 1 of the J.M. Barrie play ‘The Admirable Chrichton.'”

Indeed, the statement appears in Barrie’s 1902 comedic play, published about two years after Wilde’s death. Barrie is best known as the creator of the fictional character Peter Pan.

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Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
Follow Trevor on Twitter Have a fact check suggestion?  Send ideas to [email protected].


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