The experiences if left for seed corn will grow to something

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Senior Member
Italy; Italian, Romanesque and Napolitan
I do not undestand the following sentence, or I might try to understand it but I'm not sure if I get the right meaning:
The experiences if left for seed corn will grow to something.
I seem to understand that experiences like seeds if put in the ground make grow something new and better. Is that right?

Context: a passage of a letter of Margaret Fuller to Arthur H. Clough (1850): "I am not at all sorry it was not to be published in England (indeed now I see the question whether foreigners can hold copy-rights is quite decided against us), and I shall not care if prevented from publishing at all. I dare say the experiences if left for seed corn will grow to something better."
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  • EStjarn

    Senior Member
    I think the clarity of this sentence would gain from a couple of commas: I dare say the experiences, if left for seed corn, will grow to something better.

    Collins English Dictionary defines seed corn (n) as, on the one hand, "the good quality ears or kernels of corn that are used as seed," and on the other, "assets or investments that are expected to provide profit in the future."

    My interpretation is that, instead of consuming the kernels, an act that would give immediate satisfaction, the kernels are left for the time being to be used later as seed. I believe 'kernels' refers to her account of some experiences, rather than to the experiences themselves. That is, she will wait with publishing the account in the hope that it will receive a better offer, rather than go ahead with that immediately against a payment she is not fully content with. (Which is mentioned at the beginning of the paragraph.)
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