The original Life was a humor and general interest magazine that ran from 1883 until Henry Luce purchased the magazine in 1936 in order to acquire the name.
Luce also created Time, Fortune and Sports Illustrated. Not a bad publishing legacy at all. Although, as NPR points out in recent story, “Of course, Henry Luce’s magazines had their detractors. One line went, “Life is for people who can’t read; Time is for people who can’t think.”
Milo is also one of the few protagonists in children’s literature—Dorothy is another—who have a wiser best friend throughout their journey, in this case Tock, the watchdog. Just as Dorothy learns from the smart Scarecrow, Milo learns from Tock’s timekeeper’s knowledge. Milo doesn’t educate himself; he gets educated. His epiphany is that math and reading and even spelling are themselves subjects of adventure, if seen from the right angle. The point of “The Phantom Tollbooth” is not that there’s more to life than school; it’s that normal school subjects can be wonderful if you don’t have to experience them as normal schooling…
…For “The Phantom Tollbooth” is not just a manifesto for learning; it is a manifesto for the liberal arts, for a liberal education, and even for the liberal-arts college. (Juster, who, knowing that he had started out with a classic, went on to publish sparingly, if beautifully—his visual romance “The Dot and the Line” is his best-known later work—spent most of his career as an architect and as a teacher at Hampshire College.) What Milo discovers is that math and literature, Dictionopolis and Digitopolis, should assume their places not under the pentagon of Purpose and Power but under the presidency of Rhyme and Reason. Learning isn’t a set of things that we know but a world that we enter.