In summer 2010, a shortened edition of my bachelor thesis was published in Skript Historical Magazine
. In the middle of the nineteenth century important developments took place in the culture of reading. Along with the emergence of new social groups, a specific literature for these new groups developed, with its own literary style and conventions. In this article I look at a corpus of mid- and late-nineteenth century short novels and stories written specifically by and for the upcoming petit bourgeoisie. These short novels functioned as guidebooks towards a specific system of values present within the petit bourgeoisie and offer at the same time various reflections on the prevailing mentality of the social group trying to distinguish itself from other classes. Thanks to Jan Hein Furnée, Boudien de Vries, Eleá de la Porte, Willemijn Koning and Mark Opmeer.