Don Quxiote, says Ramiro de Maeztu, is "the exemplary book" o f Spain's decadence. The hidalgo is too old for his adventures. The epic era of Spain is finished . Cervantes invented a ghost to tell Spain that the time of great deeds was over: You are exhausted. Go back home. And if God is good to you, die peacefully. The dream of Utopia had failed in the New World, and the i llusion of a universal Catholic monarchy had d issipated. After eight centuries of reconquest, discovery, and conquest ; after El Cid and Isabella the Catholic, after Columbus and Cortes, after Saint Teresa and Loyola, after Lepanto and the Armada, the party was over.