Will I ever be able to understand literature properly? Does it get easier with time? I read things I do not understand and it makes me impatient. I do not have the patience to be this unintelligent.
It's possible. I do have a tendency to want to know everything straight away. It doesn't help that I have nobody to talk to about these things really. I'm doing English Literature at university and it feels like nobody I meet on the course really likes it at all.
I feel as though I've failed myself by not getting to a top university where there might be more people who actually like to talk about this stuff.
I love my friends at home and at university, but they just aren't me at all.
If you're REALLY having trouble approaching lit, "How to Read Literature Like a Professor" is one place to begin.
A better, but more difficult book I'd recommend is "A Short Introduction to Literary Theory" by Johnathon Culler. Those will not help you understand literature in the way you want to, but they'll at least help you approach lit in a more comprehensible way. Buying Norton critical editions (if they're available) is also helpful.
I've read the Culler and have read some of the critical readers. A main problem I have is that modern philosophy seems so focused on language and I'm just lost on it in truth. I don't understand what makes language so important.
Read stuff you understand. Once you do that, read Kerouac or Burriughs. They aren't hard to understand. Next choose Hemingway and Vonnegut and before you know it you can breeze through Faulkner
>I feel as though I've failed myself by not getting to a top university where there might be more people who actually like to talk about this stuff.
I'm at an elite university and everyone here hates literature too. Even the professors. No, _especially_the professors. Having to write two essays per week makes me hate it too, since it basically kills reading for pleasure. I read with a view to writing essays now. So does everyone I know. Studying lit. at uni is probably the worst decision I've ever made.
Get some companion works. I've yet to tackle Hegel, but Baudrillard was utterly impenetrable to me until I picked up secondary literature on him. Once you get the gist of it, you'll come to understand just how justified the accusations of obscurantism are. That is not to say he is not profound - he is. But his thought could be communicated better.
Does anyone have the details of the anecdote of the prominent analytic philosopher (I think it was Searly, but I do not recall) who had a conversation with one of the continental philosophers, and the continental mentioned that around 25% of what you wrote had to be gibberish, or you wouldn't be considered deep? At any rate, that anecdote seems poignant in regards to Baudrillard.
>I'm doing English Literature at university and it feels like nobody I meet on the course really likes it at all.
Nobody at uni for English Lit seems to like English Lit. That's a fact. Except MAYBE at oxford. Maybe Yale. At least at those two you'll get good professors who like it.
I'm personally at a top state school so I can't really complain too much about people being retards in my program, but I hear it's pretty much the same everywhere. Even in the Ivies. Some say especially in the Ivies.
That said, if your school has a creative writing poet attached to it (mine does, he's a laureate of the state and heads a major conference -- imo his poetry is mediocre though) maybe talk to him and have fun there. Just don't let him or her teach you about poetry, let Shakespeare or Whitman do that.