James Russell Lowell was one of the greatest 19th-century poets of New England, as well as a literary critic. His The Bigelow Papers was notable as humorous poetry, and the first series of the "Papers" was propaganda against the Mexican War and war in general. The Cathedral is considered one of the most important religious poems of the century. Lowell's critical essays studied Chaucer, Dante, Shakespeare, and Spenser. Although a graduate of Harvard Law School, he disliked the profession and left it after three years. He was the first editor of the Atlantic Monthly (1857 -1861) and co-edited The North American Review.