The aim of this thesis is to examine the appropriation of the science of chaos theory by contemporary literature and cultural studies, and to evaluate the significance of this with reference to the theoretical and fictional texts that define it. This thesis will outline chaos theory's implications for literature through an examination of the popular science texts that provide authors and critics with an accessible source of information about chaos theory and explore some of the characteristics of a literary criticism based on the principles of chaos theory. This contribution to the explication of the current literary interest in chaos theory may be distinguished from others of its kind, which are primarily engaged in advancing the critical application of chaos theory to fictional systems, by its critical assessment of its subject: it will develop a meta-critique of literary and cultural interpretations of chaos theory and its application to social and fictional systems, and will propose that the paradigm of chaos theory has become as significant to literature and culture as it is to science. Broadly speaking, this thesis is concerned with examining some of the convergences between scientific and cultural ideas and values that have recently been identified in a variety of contexts. The literary interest in chaos theory is but one example of this phenomenon.