Politics and the Occult, By Gary Lachman

Gary Lachman has certainly done his research. This history of how the occult has influenced national politics – and not just wacky, fascist politics but mainstream and progressive political movements too – includes detailed discussion of the ideas of Johann Andreae, Dr John Dee, Francis Bacon, Emmanuel Swedenborg, Comenius and the rest of the gang, not forgetting the alchemists, Gnostics, the Freemasons, the Illuminati, and our mysterious friends the Knights Templar. It could be fascinating, but the prose is stodgy, and the actual aims of these secret societies, where revealed, are often uncontroversial and bland – to create a better world, that sort of thing.

Why a portrait of Francis Bacon terrifies us all

Tonight, Lucian Freud's portrait of his friend Francis Bacon is to be auctioned. The art world hopes it will net £7m, but there are signs the market is stalling. So will the Christie's sale indicate that the global financial crisis is about to get worse?

Francis Bacon, Tate Britain, Lndon

It takes a show on this scale to make a fitting acknowledgement of the centenary of Francis Bacon's birth

Piaf, Donmar, London<br/>Dybbuk, King's, Edinburgh<br/>The Tell-Tale Heart, Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh

From the gutter to the stars &ndash; it's Edith's life laid bare

Pipilotti Rist, FACT, Liverpool

What's in the change of a name? In the case of a girl once christened Elisabeth Charlotte Rist, quite a lot. The Swiss video-maker Pipilotti Rist changed her name to Pippi (of which Pipilotti is a diminutive) when she forged a new identity for herself as an artist. The adoption of Pippi meant that she had decided to be re-born as the heir presumptive to Pippi Longstocking, the sparky little girl who was invented in the 1940s by the Swedish author Astrid Lindgren.

The Edge of Love (15)

Ah Bohemia! The cigarette smoke in demi-monde drama The Edge of Love comes deep and thick and blue, clustering in corners of Soho pubs or curling luxuriantly in the beams of film projectors. John Maybury's period piece is certainly atmospheric, but it's not quite convincing – either as a picture of 1940s Britain or as an insight into the private life of Dylan Thomas. The film depicts the ill-fated relationship between the poet, his wayward wife Caitlin and his childhood friend Vera Killick, née Phillips, with whom we're told he had a long-standing emotional and sexual entanglement.

Bacon's triptych expected to fetch &#163;35m

The most important Francis Bacon triptych to remain in private hands looks set to smash all records for the artist when it goes on sale at Sotheby's in New York for an estimated £35m.

Bacon's homage to dead lover sells for &pound;26m

A "unique" painting revealing Francis Bacon's abject grief at the suicide of his lover, George Dyer, sold last night for more than £26m but failed to break the record for the artist's work by £150,000.

The great philosophers guide - free with the print edition

The Independent has created a 14-day series on ‘The Great Philosophers’, covering the lives and work of some of history’s greatest thinkers.

Howard Hodgkin: Bold, unconventional and uncompromising

Bold, unconventional and uncompromising, Howard Hodgkin was once regarded as a marginal figure in British art. More than half a century later, and still refining his style, he has become one of the true giants of contemporary painting. On the eve of his first major retrospective, Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate, explores the artist's unique vision - and its dazzling energy

Miles Kington: Australian cricket's new secret weapon

The selectors are very excited at the prospect of a player who can bamboozle the English

Valerie Beston

Francis Bacon's loyal 'Miss B'
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