In 1869, several years before Nietzsche published his famous analysis of ressentiment in such works as Thus Spoke Zarathustra’s “Flies of the Marketplace” or The Genealogy of Morals’ “Good and Evil, Good and Bad,” Victor Hugo published his novel The Man Who Laughs. In the following chapters Hugo offers a striking anticipation of Nietzsche:
It would be interesting to know whether Nietzsche read The Man Who Laughs. (Nietzsche’s passing references to Hugo are dismissive.) Also, inasmuch as both Hugo and Nietzsche were early favourites of Rand’s, I wonder how much of the portrayal of ressentiment in her novels came from Hugo and not, as is usually assumed, from Nietzsche?