Greg Gatenby must be stopped. A couple of years ago he edited a collection of remarks about Canada by various foreign writers. Now he has followed up with a second thick collection, The Very Richness of That Past: Canada Through the Eyes of Foreign Writers (Knopf Canada). Not only that, he threatens in his introduction to the new volume to keep on going until he has exhausted his entire collection of 1500 writers ("at last count") from various countries who happen to have written something about Canada. Gatenby is in the grip of some weird obsession. How many trees must die so that he can satisfy it? Apparently he believes that this stuff qualifies as Canadian literature, and he wants to rescue it from the undeserved neglect in which it allegedly languishes. "Our literary history is practically ignored," he laments, giving as an example the case of Margaret Blennerhassett, the British-born author of one book of poems who happened to live in Montreal for a few years early in the last century. To call her a minor poet is to praise her, to claim that she is somehow important to the development of a national literature is laughable, yet Gatenby would have us all hanging our heads in shame at our ignorance of her. There is a reason so many of these works are buried. They are dead. And no amount of resuscitation can bring them back to life. It is possible, of course, that this is all an elaborate joke, that Gatenby is satirizing the earnest academics who pad their vitae with learned articles about obscure authors. If so, the joke is getting stale, and one hopes that Gatenby will turn his talents soon to the real literary history of the country.