Allegedly, there are scholars out there who work on material (authors, texts, movements) that they don't like--and in some cases, actively dislike. I'm pretty sure I'm not one of them.
This isn't to say that the texts I work on are universally or even widely enjoyed, but I love them. (Not uncritically, of course, and for the most part I have no desire to travel back in time and have dinner with the writers I work on--I seem to be drawn to grandstanding, extreme, and sometimes assholish personalities). And this also isn't to say that I don't have to wade through some fairly boring or downright inept works in the course of my research; most early modern polemicists aren't John Milton.
But I don't work on texts or authors that I dislike, or that don't in some way strike a chord with me; had my first college literature class(es) focused on the Romantic poets, I might never have majored in English.
So when I hear people talking about writing on "terrible" texts, or hating the guts of the author they're writing a chapter on, I always wonder how that works. Sure, sometimes the texts are terrible, but the ideas are interesting (or at least help to make a larger point that the scholar finds compelling), and sometimes a given work or author just can't be left out of a study, if it's to be taken seriously. But I've known a few people who seem to seek out material that pisses them off, or regard it as a special intellectual challenge to work up a project on something they dislike. I knew a guy like this in grad school, whose approach I always thought of as the "debate team" method: he didn't seem to care what or who he worked on, or even what argument he made; as long as his case was defensible, he'd go balls-out.
Of course, there are all kinds of different ways of liking the things we work on, and our tastes and ideas change over time. But I'm wondering: do any of you dislike what you work on (or have you in the past)? And if so, how do you keep working on it?