Vasily Vasilievich Rozanov (Василий Васильевич Розанов) (1856 - 1919) was one of the most controversial Russian writers and philosophers of the pre-revolutionary epoch. His views have been termed the "religion of procreation", as he tried to reconcile Christian teachings with ideas of healthy sex and family life and not, as his adversary Nicolas Berdyaev put it, "to set up sex in opposition to the Word".
Rozanov's mature works are deeply personal diaries, which contain his intimate thoughts, impromptu lines, unfinished maxims, vivid aphorisms, reminiscences, and short essays. These collections, attempting to recreate intonations of spoken speech, form a loosely-connected trilogy: Solitaria (1911), and the two-volume Fallen Leaves (1913; 1915).
Rozanov frequently referred to himself as Dostoyevsky's Underground Man, and proclaimed his right to espouse contrary opinions at the same time. He first attracted attention in the 1890s when he published political sketches in the reactionary periodical New Times. His comments, always paradoxical and sparkling controversy, would lead him to clashes with radicals (like Lenin) and the Tsarist government alike. Thus, Rozanov readily passed from a blasting criticism of Russian Orthodoxy to the fervent praise of Christian faith, from the praise of Judaism to the unabashed anti-Semitism, and from acceptance of homosexuality as yet another side of human nature to the vitriolic accusations of Gogol and some other writers of latent homosexuality.
Rozanov tragically starved to death in the hungry years following the Revolution. His work was largely forgotten in the Soviet Union even though some prominent writers (including Maxim Gorky and Vladimir Nabokov) were among his admirers. Recently, his paradoxical writings have once again become available to the Russian readers, but, unfortunately, he remains little known outside of Russia.