In this work, Claudio Guillen meditates on the elusive field of comparative literature and its vicissitudes since the early 19th century. This book is a call to abandon the ethnocentric view of literature and to face the tension between the local and the universal. Guillen shows how literature catapults us into supranationality. Poetry provokes and inspires his reflections. Aiming to write a book that approaches the nations of the world, "drawing close to them, listening to them, yielding their best voices, reproducing whenever possible their exact words", Guillen presents the work of Cervantes, Borges, Dante, Garcia Marquez, Neruda, Dario, Ortega, Whitman, T.S. Eliot, Czeslaw Milosz, Alberti, Lorca, Jorge Cuillen, Rilke, Milton, Beckett, Stefan George, and the great T'ang poets, as well as Nahuatl literature and Quechua elegies. As he proceeds, the essential components of literary communication unfold - its channels, forms, themes, genres, and use of literary history. "The Challenge of Comparative Literature" is directed towards those who seek a renewed view of literature and its voices throughout the world.