This essay examines the role of geometry in military theory around 1700 and its critical reception in Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy. Juxtaposing literature, maps, and war games, the essay outlines a poetics of war in the eighteenth century and traces the decline of the geometrical order that governs it. A forged continuation of Sterne’s novel written in the immediate aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars reveals the development of a new poetics and the installment of a military order based on topography and chance.

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