chapter
Introduction
Pages 12

This chapter argues that the genesis of Pontano's Parthenopeus inscribes the author's gradual definition of his poetic identity on the backdrop of his progressive assimilation into Neapolitan society. This biographical and poetic itinerary, which is most importantly modeled on the work of the Latin poet Propertius, is encoded poetically through the invention of a fictional literary space populated by the personifications of the author's homeland and his country of residence. Like Propertius before him, Pontano's text elaborates on the twofold meaning of the Latin word patria to narrate his evolution from the natural poetic inspiration stemming from his place of birth. Pontano indicates that a philosophical poem on the nature of things, modeled on Lucretius and Empedocles, the conclusion of his poetic quest, to be attained in his old age. In a way that parallels the evolution of the author's signature from Umber to Iovianus, the masterpiece announced in Parthenopeus.