A cold wet May, good for corn and hay! Much the corn and hay matter nowadays!

Discussion in 'English Only' started by longxianchen, Feb 29, 2016.

  1. longxianchen Senior Member

    chinese
    Hi,
    Here are some words from the novel Lady Chatterley's Lover(para. 74, chapter 11) by Lawrence(the University of Adelaide,here):
    It was May, but cold and wet again. A cold wet May, good for corn and hay! Much the corn and hay matter nowadays! Connie had to go into Uthwaite, which was their little town, where the Chatterleys were still the Chatterleys. She went alone, Field driving her.

    I guess the part in blue is a proverb, but not quite clear about the structure and meaning of Much the corn and hay matter nowadays. However, I guess it means nowadays the corn and hay matter (very) much.

    Is that right please? If yes, why do the matter?
    Thank you in advance
     
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2016
  2. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    London
    English - South-East England
    Actually, it means the opposite. The corn and hay don't matter. But I can't explain why they don't.

    Much that matters! = That doesn't matter.
    Much you care! = You don't care.
    Much good that did! = That didn't do any good.
    Much she knows! = She doesn't know much.

    Yes, the rhyming first sentence sounds like a proverb, though not one I know.
     
  3. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London but from Yorkshire
    English - England
    More colloquial examples include A fat lot he knows about it, which means that his opinion on the matter is not to be trusted.
    I suppose the idea is that we live in an industrial society and globalized market, so the weather in Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire has a minimal effect on the cost of living in Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire.
     
  4. longxianchen Senior Member

    chinese
    Thank you for your wonderful explanations
    Maybe there are more reasons, such as people attached more importance to industrial products, money and fame, but neglected natural things, which is one of the theme of this novel.:)
    Good examples, even if no such entry in dictionaries. :thumbsup:
    Is it similar to antiphrasis? Maybe your explanation should be collected into dictionaries.:thumbsup:
     
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2016
  5. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London but from Yorkshire
    English - England
    Irony and sarcasm are familiar terms than antiphrasis. These are both very common in speech and literature - especially in the UK, which sometimes seems a good deal more cynical than other parts of the English-speaking world!
     
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2016

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