Perpessicius (Romanian: [perpeˈsit͡ʃjus]; pen name of Dumitru S. Panaitescu, also known as Panait Şt. Dumitru, D. P. Perpessicius and Panaitescu-Perpessicius; October 22, 1891 – March 29, 1971) was a Romanian literary historian and critic, poet, essayist, fiction writer and academician. One of the prominent literary chroniclers of the Romanian interwar, he stood apart in his generation for having thrown his support behind the modernist and avant-garde currents of Romanian literature. As a theorist, Perpessicius merged the tenets of Symbolism with the pragmatic conservative principles of the 19th century Junimea society, but was much-criticized over perceptions that, in the name of aesthetic relativism, he tolerated "literary failure". Also known as an anthologist, biographer, museologist, folklorist and book publisher, he was, together with George Călinescu, one of his generation's best-known researchers to have focused on the work of Junimist author and since-acknowledged national poet Mihai Eminescu. Much of Perpessicius' career was dedicated to collecting, structuring and interpreting Eminescu's texts, resulting in an authoritative edition of Eminescu's writings, the 17-volume Opere ("Works").
A veteran of World War I, where he lost use of his right arm, Perpessicius debuted in poetry while recovering in hospital, publishing the critically acclaimed volume Scut şi targă ("Shield and Stretcher"). His subsequent "intimist" and Neoclassical tendencies made him part of a distinct current within the local branch of Symbolism. Like other mainstream modernists of his day, Perpessicius also espoused anti-fascism and criticized nationalism in general, attitudes which led him into conflict with the 1930s far right. In 1938-1940 however, Perpessicius controversially offered a degree of support to the fascist-inspired National Renaissance Front, and was promoted by its leader, King Carol II. Sympathetic to the left-wing trend after World War II, Perpessicius was drawn into cooperation with the Romanian Communist Party. Although subsequently endorsed and acclaimed by the communist regime, Perpessicius was reluctant to condone its policies and dedicated his final years almost exclusively to literature. A member of the Romanian Academy and founding director of the Museum of Romanian Literature, he was co-editor of Viaţa Românească magazine, and, in 1957, head of the Academy's Library.