In 1981 Frisch wrote two lectures, which he gave in English at the City College of New York in early November of that year. Both lectures are a journey through his work and at the same time serve as an instrument of self-questioning and self-exploration: What are the impulses behind the urge to write? What is literature capable of? And to what end? Max Frisch’s lectures are a manifesto: a commitment to poetry that does not resign itself to only what is possible and that cannot let go “of the sadness that being human on this earth is not different”. They were first published in German translation in 2008 under the title Schwarzes Quadrat (Black Square).