Western critical theory has got rapid development in the 20th century. Following the full development of Russian Formalism in the early 20th century, other literary theories, such as new criticism, phenomenology, hermeneutics, reception theory, structuralism, deconstruction, come into being. Although all the theories have their specific concerns, they concentrate on a number of questions, such as the locus of literary meaning, the status of the text, the role of the reader, the function of language in the text, the relation between literary and society (history). It is certain that all theories have their strengths and weaknesses, but having a clear understanding of their theories and making a scientific judgment will enable us to have better correct attitudes towards literary works. Here, in this paper, I will tell my understanding of western literary criticism from two aspects, language and history. .
Formalism Formalism places the study of literature on a scientific footing by defining its object and establishing its own methods and procedures. In other words, they are making efforts to find the internal laws and principles that make a piece of literature literary, or the form of literature. They study the form of the work (as opposed to its content), although form to a formalist can connote anything from genre (for example, one may speak of "the sonnet form") to grammatical or rhetorical structure to the "emotional imperative" that engenders the work's (more mechanical) structure. No matter which connotation of form pertains, however, formalists seek to be objective in their analysis, focusing on the work itself and avoiding external considerations. They pay particular attention to literary devices used in the work and to the patterns these devices establish.
Formalists have generally suggested that everyday language, which serves simply to communicate information, is stale and unimaginative.