Joseph Opatoshu's historical novel In poylishe velder, written during the First World War and published in New York in 1921, looks back to the period leading to the Polish rebellion of 1863. This chapter explores the contexts of In poylishe velder, both within Jewish culture and beyond it. It then considers first the emphasis on history in the framework of Jewish culture and literature in the first part of the twentieth century, and then focuses on the novel's relation to Fyodor Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov. The time of the novel's completion and publication saw war, revolution, the collapse of empires, the emergence of new political ideologies and new nations, the massive immigration of East European Jews to Western Europe and North America, including Opatoshu's own immigration to the United States in 1907. Opatoshu's interest in the historical past was part of a larger tendency among the Jewish intelligentsia in the early years of the twentieth century.