By traditional standards, Laurence Sterne's The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman is a disorderly production. At the narrative level, Tristram traces his disordered existence to a meticulous father who, abetted by his Lockeian wife's "unhappy association of ideas" (1: 4, 39), interrupted the task of conceiving him to wind his grandfather clock. As a result, Tristram leads a life that cannot be measured in the regular swing of the pendulum, for the telling of it is filled with digressions, retrograde motions, and "stoppages." His life is one with the vagaries of weather, sudden upheavals of earthquakes, and the perturbations of other natural phenomena seemingly beyond the ken of human understanding and prediction. Sharon Cadman Selig finds Tristram Shandy to be "a text so clearly chaotic" (137) that she wisely looks beyond traditional definitions of genre to engage its idiosyncracies. Sterne's text even resists being consistent with the new science paradigm of the period in which it was written. In Tristram Shandy, the linear, clockwork regularity of Newtonianism is fractured in the narrative discourse by digression, deferral, and interruption. Nowhere is this fracturing of the Newtonian paradigm more evident than in how the narrator conceives chaos. Prior and contemporary conceptions of chaos as an undifferentiated realm opposed to creation simply are not part of the world view expressed in Tristram Shandy. Our narrator conceives chaos as a dynamic, creative force not to be avoided (as in the case of dissolution and death) but to be played against the eighteenth century's order of things.