You are looking at the HTML representation of the XML format.
HTML is good for debugging, but is unsuitable for application use.
Specify the format parameter to change the output format.
To see the non HTML representation of the XML format, set format=xml.
See the complete documentation, or API help for more information.
<?xml version="1.0"?>
<api>
  <query>
    <pages>
      <page pageid="1280" ns="0" title="Table Of Contents" />
      <page pageid="1296" ns="0" title="Ideas for how to help the wiki grow and be useful" />
      <page pageid="1312" ns="0" title="Download PDFs of the book)" />
      <page pageid="1338" ns="0" title="Introductory quotation" />
      <page pageid="1731" ns="0" title="Knowledge-based universe" />
    </pages>
  </query>
</api>