Alexandru Macedonski (Romanian pronunciation: [alekˈsandru mat͡ʃeˈdonski]; also rendered as Al. A. Macedonski, Macedonschi or Macedonsky; March 14, 1854 – November 24, 1920) was a Romanian poet, novelist, dramatist and literary critic, known especially for having promoted French Symbolism in his native country, and for leading the Romanian Symbolist movement during its early decades. A forerunner of local modernist literature, he is the first local author to have used free verse, and claimed by some to have been the first in modern European literature. As leader of a cosmopolitan and aestheticist trend formed around his Literatorul journal, he was diametrically opposed to the inward-looking traditionalism of contemporary Mihai Eminescu and his school.
Debuting as a Neoromantic in the Wallachian tradition, Macedonski went through the Realist-Naturalist stage deemed “social poetry”, while progressively adapting his style to Symbolism and Parnassianism, and repeatedly but unsuccessfully attempting to impose himself in the Francophone world. Despite having theorized “instrumentalism”, which reacted against the traditional guidelines of poetry, he maintained a lifelong connection with Neoclassicism and its ideal of purity. Macedonski’s quest for excellence found its foremost expression in his recurring motif of life as a pilgrimage to Mecca, notably used in his critically acclaimed Nights cycle. The stylistic stages of his career are reflected in the collections Prima verba, Poezii, and Excelsior, as well as in the fantasy novel Thalassa, Le Calvaire de feu. In old age, he became the author of rondels, noted for their detached and serene vision of life, in contrast with his earlier combativeness.