The use of discourse in criminological thought and writing is touted as though it is a recent event; building off the work of postmodernism. In reality, however, the use of discourse in addressing criminological concepts goes back to the earliest works in criminology (although it was not referred to as discourse at that time). This article discusses the history of discourse in criminality, focusing specifically on Beccaria and Lombroso. Application for current use of discourse is suggested as a way of making postmodernist writing perhaps more useful to a wider audience. © 2001 Kluwer Academic Publishers.