One of many clever and insightful passages (on Don Quixote) from Burning Down the House, Charles Baxter's 1998 collection of essays.
"...one can understand why, when Don Quixote is dying and has regained his lucidity, Sancho Panza wants him to be his old self again: heroic and mad and epical. Living by himself, Sancho is going to be stuck with a paunch and a world of mute things. So much the worse for him, but he has survived, in the way that laboratory science has survived its unruly spirit-obsessed parent, alchemy, and for some of the same reasons. Marxism survives Hegelianism until something turns up to replace dialectical materialism. Everyone remembers Sancho Panza's tears at the deathbed of Don Quixote. Materialism without ideals, mad or not, weeps. Deprived of a quest, it is consigned to centuries of weeping."