The medium can be defined as a condition of the visible which links perception and thought while remaining itself withdrawn from any attempt of formalization. Producing forms, the medium can only be grasped by the traces, reconfigurations or displacements it causes. By retracing the etymology of this term in Aristotle and his Latin translator Thomas Aquinas, we will try to situate the field of tension between empiricism and metaphysics which accompanies any attempt to theorize this concept. In a reading of the beginning of the third chapter of Ulysses, we will study the influence of this debate on James Joyce’s literature. We propose that Joyce tilts the philosophical problem towards a poetic principle. Thus, Joyce creates new language-bodies carried by the rhythm which engages the act of interpretation in a sensual experience necessary for any understanding.
Key words: Media theory | Rhythm | Aesthetics | Image | Language