the essence of blackness


New Member
Hi everyone!

I have a text to translate, but I encountered a sentence which poses a serious problem for me. I cannot imagine what on Earth it could mean within the specific context it is placed. The article containing the sentence is here. It's in the 3rd paragraph and goes as follows: "Their chimneys were the essence of blackness." If any native speaker of English could put it in other words so as to make it easier to comprehend, I would be very grateful. Thank you, in advance!
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The full quote is

    "A circle of kerosene lamps was smoking viciously on an empty brick forge. Their chimneys were the essence of blackness."

    You can see a kerosene lamp here: The chimney is the glass cylinder above the burner.

    The essence of something is "the essential quality" of something; that which definitively distinguishes it from other (similar) objects (in the class.); The most important indispensable quality or constituent element of anything

    e.g. The essence of a chair will be "that you can sit on it." It may be any shape, colour or material but you must be able to sit on it.

    Thus the essence of blackness = possessing the quality of definitive black - whatever causes something to be black, then the chimneys possessed it