You can't. Imagine that
<list> node was gone - how would XStream know how to deserialize this XML? It can be list / set / array / something else entirely. Furthermore, imagine you have an object containing a list of your
pojo followed by a single
pojo field - they'd be jumbled together.
That said, if you have no intention of deserializing this, you can implement your own stream driver and writer akin to JSON writer that would drop the
<list> for you.