When the Society was founded on 26 July 1941, Bernard Shaw's eighty fifth birthday. He wanted nothing to do with the idea, and it was his curious letter of rejection that contained the phrase we quote here, and which was eagerly incorporated into the constitution of the Society. Reproduced here is the letter as written by Shaw.
The Browning Society was a terror to Browning Shelley was dead, Shakespeare was dead,
I shall soon be dead.
We all provided a rallying point for the co-operation and education of kindred spirits and a forum for their irreconcilable controversies.
So go ahead, but don't bother me about it. I am old, deaf, and dotty. In short, a Has Been.
GBS November 1941